The Big Eurovision Read Reading Den Opens in Liverpool

From 2-13 May, The Reading Agency will be hosting two weeks of workshops and events in The Big Eurovision Read pop-up reading den outside Liverpool Central Library as part of EuroFestival.

Supported by BBC Arts, the Reading Den will be home to our exciting range of activities and workshops as well as giving the public access to the “douze” titles on our booklist with the opportunity to sit back and relax with one of the brilliant books that have been selected by librarians from across the UK, we also have some for children so the whole family can enjoy the den. Come and join in the fun and celebrate the Big Eurovision Read with us in Liverpool.

The den will be open daily from 2-5 May and 9-13 May.

Reading Den Programme

Wednesday 3 May 2023
The Music Bird by ArtsGroupie

Get inspired by the Liver Birds and create a new and unique animal called The Music Bird! In this interactive workshop participants will explore their memories and the Big Eurovision Read booklist to create The Music Bird.

11:00 and 14:00

Sign up to attend.

Friday 5 May 2023

Latin/African Drumming Performance by Luma Creations

Come and join us for a performance piece that consists of a mix of Latin American and African drumming and dance.


Sign up to attend.

Saturday 6 May 2023
Words That Fly by Ali Harwood

Inspired by the book Musical Truth by Jeffrey Boakye, explore the music of the Big Eurovision Read and Liverpool as you create your own Eurovision heart, ready to share and take away.

10:00 – 13:00

Monday 8 May 2023
Music-Heritage Walking Tour by ArtsGroupie

Wind your way through the historic St. George’s Quarter and discover the musical history
of Liverpool in these free, accessible, 45 minute walking tours.

10:00, 12:00, 15:00

Sign up to attend.

Wednesday 10 May 2023
Music-Heritage Walking Tour by ArtsGroupie

Wind your way through the historic St. George’s Quarter and discover the musical history of Liverpool in these free, accessible, 45 minute walking tours.

10:00, 12:00, 15:00

Sign up to attend.

Thursday 11 May 2023
Luma Trio Performance by Luma Creations

Come and hear the sounds of Latin Americawith the Luma Trio. The group will play a range of traditional and contemporary pieces to get you into the mood as the Eurovision Grand Final approaches.


Sign up to attend

Friday 12 May 2023
The Music Bird by ArtsGroupie

Get inspired by the Liver Birds and create a new and unique animal called The Music Bird! In this interactive workshop participants will explore their memories and the Big Eurovision Read booklist to create The Music Bird.

11:00 and 14:00

Sign up to attend.

Saturday 13 May 2023
Words That Fly by Ali Harwood

Inspired by the book Musical Truth by Jeffrey Boakye, explore the music of the Big Eurovision Read and Liverpool as you create your own Eurovision heart, ready to share and take away.

10:00 – 16:00

Sign up to attend.

The Big Eurovision Read Titles

These books will be available to explore and enjoy at the Reading Den, where visitors (as well as relaxing on one of the bean bags or deck chairs with a book) will be invited to add their favourite books about the power of music on the suggestion wall. If you like what you read you can pop into your local library to loan the book for free*. The Reading Agency will be gifting books to the public on Saturday 13 May in celebration of the Eurovision final!

The Big Eurovision Read booklist is not a definitive collection of titles celebrating the power of music but an inspirational look at how reading and music are intertwined. Readers are encouraged to share their great reads featuring the power of music here.

The Big Eurovision Read campaign is delivered in partnership with BBC Arts and The Reading Agency with support from public libraries and funding from Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, as part of EuroFestival.

The Eurovision Song Contest airs live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this May. Watch Semi Final 1 on 9 May, Semi Final 2 on 11 May and the Grand Final on 13 May.

Please note that the Reading Den will be closed on Sunday 7 May and Monday 8 May. Scheduled events will still start and end outside of Liverpool Central Library.

The Reading Den will be open to the public from 10:00 – 19:00 Monday – Friday, and 10:00 – 16:30 Saturday.

*subject to availability

Get Islington Reading empowers local students to pursue reading activism this Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day last week, best-selling author Sita Brahmachari, music artist and campaigner Love Ssega, writer Anouchka Grose and All Change Arts rallied Islington schools to pursue reading activism and help save the planet, as part of our Get Islington Reading Earth Day panel with The Reading Agency and Islington Libraries.

The lucky students from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School and St Aloysius RC College were invited to the Platform creative youth club for an inspiring Earth Day programme of spoken word performance and an exclusive Q&A with the author panel.

During the event, the budding environmentalists listened to the panellists reading journeys to help connect with the natural world and learned top tips for speaking about their environmental anxieties and creating change. The students created their own origami seed packets, completed a ‘circle of concern, influence and control’ activity about their worries for the planet, and wrote their own pledges for the local environment and Islington Council.

One student suggested Islington Council should publish poems or music to encourage people to take action on climate change, while another asked for more events about environmentalism, in their pledge.

They pledged to ‘use their voice to speak up about these problems’, ‘to be more resilient about it’ and ‘to be more mindful about what [they] buy and wear less fast fashion’, in their cards.

During the event, Love Ssega delighted students by performing his song Our Earth (Fight for Air) about air pollution in South London and encouraged them to use music and song writing to highlight the urgency of Net Zero.

Anouchka Grose, author of A Guide to Eco Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health, told students that ‘writing can give you a voice, reading gives you knowledge and both of those give you power’, while Sita Brahmachari spoke about her title When Rivers Run Gold and water pollution in the UK.

To build on the excitement of Earth Day, the students were also gifted free books including titles from a specially curated booklist from Islington Libraries and The Reading Agency’s Reading Well for teens collection which supports young people’s mental health, alongside activity sheets for designing an environmental poster campaign and learning about how to cut single use plastic.

The panel event comes after research shows the role of reading in environmental action. Studies shows that 81% of children and young people want to do more to look after the environment. Children and young people who read non-fiction are more likely to want to take care of the environment compared with those who don’t read non-fiction (68% vs 49%). Through using this appeal of environmentalism, Get Islington Reading hope to make reading and writing accessible for those who may not always enjoy it at school.

The participating schools also received an environment and wellbeing toolkit, created by The Reading Agency, which provides teachers with ideas for ways to talk with young people about how they are feeling about climate change through reading. It includes signposting to The Reading Agency’s Reading Well collections which are available in local schools and public libraries as well as a bibliotherapy exercise to support mental health, using reading to express their feelings creatively and using reading with others as a means of sharing experiences.

By drawing on the powerful theme of climate change and activism, Get Islington Reading has been able to show how reading and literacy skills can support students to talk about environmental anxiety, better cope with their negative feelings about the planet and empower them to create change in their local area.

“Young people care deeply for the protection of our natural world. They are all too aware of the risks our planet faces. Environmental stories which give young people a sense of agency and hope are vital for them to sow seeds for a positive future. Stories that open hearts and minds can have a profoundly positive impact on the wellbeing of young people and can be a sustaining positive force of hope for the future of our earth.”
Sita Brahmachari

“We know how concerned Islington children are about the environment and their local area, and how they can help protect the natural world. These events and activities have engaged them in discussions on these issues while helping develop their reading and writing skills. “We hope they will feel inspired to join environmental projects in their community and campaign more widely on issues that are important to them.”
Jasmine Tucker, Project Manager of Get Islington Reading at the National Literacy Trust

“We know how passionate young people are about climate. Our work with Get Islington Reading for Earth Day helps to show how reading and writing can equip pupils with the tools they need to help protect the planet for future generations.”
Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency

“Our children are our future, and it’s so important that we engage and empower Islington’s young people to help make it a greener future for all. Books provide so much, for education, entertainment, and inspiration. Through reading and learning, we’re delighted that Islington’s school children have been given this unique opportunity to find out more about the future of their planet, and how they can make a positive impact on it.”
Cllr Roulin Khondoker, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion

Rosie Jones, Radzi Chinyanganya, Beth Tweddle MBE, Dr Alex George, Ellie Robinson MBE and Sam Squiers are amongst the stellar line up of Summer Reading Challenge Champions for 2023!

Books by Julia Donaldson, Joe Wicks and Viv French, Oti Mabuse, Bear Grylls, Phil Earle, Clare Balding and Joseph Coelho selected for the ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ Summer Reading Challenge book collection focused on games, sport and play.

The Reading Agency and children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust today announced an impressive line-up of Champions for the Summer Reading Challenge 2023 which this year takes a sporting theme: Comedian and children’s author Rosie Jones; TV presenter and author Radzi Chinyanganya; Gold-medal winning Olympian gymnast Beth Tweddle MBE; A&E doctor and TV personality Dr Alex George; Paralympic swimmer Ellie Robinson MBE and sports journalist Sam Squiers .

Now in its 24th year, over the summer holidays from June to September, children across the UK will be encouraged to get reading by taking part in the free Summer Reading Challenge.

Statistics from 2014 show that one in five children in England cannot read well by the age of 11 and that reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.

With an exciting theme around games, sports and play the partnership between The Reading Agency and the Youth Sport Trust aims to keep children’s minds and bodies active over the summer break, empowering young people to forge new connections with others and unleash the power of play, sport and physical activity through reading.

They will join a superstar team of characters and their marvellous mascots as they navigate a fictional summer obstacle course brought to life with illustrations by children’s writer and illustrator Loretta Schauer. They will be rewarded for their reading with free incentives including stickers.

The list of books selected for the official Challenge booklist includes numerous and varied options from picture books and early readers to middle grade titles by leading authors and illustrators, including: Joseph Coelho, Radzi Chinyanganya, Julia Donaldson, Joe Wicks and Viv French, Sam Squiers, Oti Mabuse, Bear Grylls, David Baddiel, Clare Balding and Rosie Jones amongst many others. The full list can be viewed here.

The Summer Reading Challenge shines a light on the power of public libraries as a hub for local communities and will bring together the benefits of sport, play and creativity. This year, the Challenge officially begins in Scotland on 24 June and England and Wales on 8 July.

Comedian and children’s author, Rosie Jones, said: “I’m so thrilled to be part of the Summer Reading Challenge. When I was younger I would spend the entire summer holidays reading every book I could get my hands on and I loved it! It’s so important to encourage reading out of school too. It keeps kids mentally active and able to access other worlds, magical kingdoms and wonderfully weird places. Here’s to more reading for everybody!”

TV presenter and author, Radzi Chinyanganya, said: “I am so excited to be championing the Summer Reading Challenge this year. Reading can be life-changing, and I’m delighted that The Reading Agency is teaming up with the Youth Sport Trust for this year’s very special play and sport themed ‘Ready Set Read!’, to help keep children stay physically and mentally active over the summer. It’s great to see libraries across the country hosting so many fun activities over the holidays which show that physical activity and creativity go hand in hand!”

Olympic gymnast, Beth Tweddle MBE, said: “This is such a great way to encourage children and young people to stay fit and stimulated over the summer. I’m honoured to be a Summer Reading Challenge Champion and can’t wait for the activities to begin.”

A&E doctor and TV personality, Dr Alex George, said: “As a passionate advocate for the positive impacts of both physical movement and reading on our mental health, I couldn’t be more excited about the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. I hope children around the UK will enjoy taking part and keeping their minds and their bodies happy and healthy over the summer holidays whilst reaping the benefits of reading for pleasure.”

Paralympic swimming champion, Ellie Robinson MBE, said: “I’m super excited to be involved with the Summer Reading Challenge. Sport and a good book were two massively important things which made me happy and filled my childhood holidays so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than being a Champion this year. Ready Set Read!”

Through the partnership, the Youth Sport Trust has developed fun family activity cards, which alongside the official 2023 Summer Reading Challenge book collection, aim to keep young people’s imaginations and bodies moving over the school holidays. The Challenge and activity cards will be available to access through the online digital platform from 24 June, to allow those with limited physical access to the library to join in. By participating in the Challenge, young people will have the opportunity to explore new reading material, develop skills, and discover new interests.

The Youth Sport Trust will also be piloting active equipment packs in five libraries across the UK. These packs will be available for families to borrow alongside books for their Challenge. The equipment packs will include hard copies of the activity cards and basic sports equipment to support families to be active, irrespective of space and cost barriers. Details of libraries participating in the equipment pilot will be available through the digital platform.

The Challenge and its sport and play themed book collection will show that imagination can unlock endless possibilities, and libraries are where this starts.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: “We’re delighted that summer is approaching, and we have the support of such an outstanding team of Summer Reading Challenge Champions this year! We hope that the accompanying booklist will inspire children visiting their local public library across the UK and look forward to continuing to work closely with our library partners, schools, community groups, parents and carers to ignite imaginations this summer.”

Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “During the summer holidays children’s reading, activity levels and what we refer to as ‘physical literacy’ can reduce, meaning children can lose fitness, and physical confidence. This is why we are so delighted to partner with the Summer Reading Challenge this year. We can’t wait to see how children take on the theme of ‘Ready Set Read’. Through our recent research we know almost half of parents (48%) significantly underestimate how active their little ones need to be by at least 30 minutes a day. This campaign and the champions involved will bring together the enjoyment and imagination of reading and play and help to support families over the summer to develop reading skills and healthy active habits for life.”

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Joel Ivory-Harte
Senior Communications Manager
XXIV Communications
[email protected]
07967 293452

Women’s Prize for Fiction Announces 2023 Shortlist

The Women’s Prize for Fiction – the greatest international celebration of women’s creativity – today (26 April) unveiled its 2023 shortlist.

Half of this year’s list – described as ‘ambitious, eclectic and hard-hitting’ – is made up of first-time novelists. Debuts by Louise Kennedy, Jacqueline Crooks and Priscilla Morris appear alongside novels by international bestselling writers Maggie O’Farrell and Barbara Kingsolver, both of whom have previously won this prestigious Prize. Former Women’s Prize shortlistee Laline Paull is also selected for the second time.

Now in its twenty-eighth year, the Prize champions women writing in English on a global stage, celebrating the very best writing by women for everyone.

The shortlist

Although the 2023 shortlist offers globe-spanning settings – from former Yugoslavia, Jamaica and the Indian Ocean, to Italy, Virginia and Ireland – the writers themselves are predominantly British: four of the list are British alongside one American and one Irish author.

Whilst three of the novels capture turbulent, pivotal moments in modern history – The Troubles in Northern Ireland (1975) in Trespasses, the Southall Riots (1979) in Fire Rush, and the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-96) in Black Butterflies – the shortlist also features a story set in de Medici’s court in sixteenth century Florence. There are timely, contemporary settings too: the modern opioid crisis in America in Demon Copperhead, and the ocean world against the backdrop of environmental disaster in Pod.

The diverse selection is unified by several overlapping themes, including civil unrest; the warring realms of the personal and the political; the solace of art and creativity; and doomed love.

The judges

This year’s shortlist has been selected by the Chair of Judges Louise Minchin and she is joined on the panel by novelist Rachel Joyce; journalist, podcaster and writer Bella Mackie; novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie; and Tulip Siddiq, Member of Parliament.

Chair of judges and author Louise Minchin, says:

‘This is an exquisite set of ambitious, diverse, thoughtful, hard-hitting and emotionally engaging novels. A glittering showcase of the power of women’s writing. My fellow judges and I feel it has been a huge privilege to read these novels, and we are delighted to be part of their journey, bringing them to the attention of more readers from across the world.’

The 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be awarded on Wednesday 14 June 2023 at the Women’s Prize Trust’s Summer Party in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. More information can be found on the Women’s Prize for Fiction website here.

Get involved

If you work in a library or workplace and would like to promote the longlist, you can download a free digital pack from our shop.

What do you think of the 2023 shortlisted titles? Which have you read and what will be added to your TBR pile? Add your comments below, or click any title above to leave a review.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WomensPrize.

Keep up with all the latest news on the Women’s Prize website.

Want to make sure you never miss the latest reading group news? Sign up for our free monthly newsletter.

Earth Day: Environmental anxiety – what it is and what can we do

Earth Day: Environmental anxiety – what it is and what can we do

Preserving the natural world is important for the sustainability, prosperity and future of humanity. Part of that future undoubtedly involves the children and young people who will become tomorrow’s adults. Research shows that children and young people care deeply about the natural world. More than three-quarters of children and young people (78%) nationally said that looking after the environment was important to them, with 4 in 5 (81%) saying they wanted to do more to look after the environment.

However, children and young people across the world are also worried about climate change. In a world where natural disasters, like hurricanes, mass flooding and wildfire, are becoming more frequent it is easy to see why widespread worry about climate change is a legitimate daily concern for many. The physical impact of these disasters and climate change as a whole on people’s wellbeing and livelihoods is clear and well documented. The psychological impact that this pressing issue creates for individuals is, by contrast, a more subtle effect of the climate crisis. Despite this subtlety, anxious feelings about climate change, sometimes described as environmental or climate anxiety, are very real for those experiencing them, and it is important to provide the right support so that any potential impact on their wellbeing is lessened.

What is environmental anxiety?

So what, exactly, is environmental/climate anxiety? Who does it affect and in what ways? Climate anxiety is best described as feeling anxious, worried or tense about climate change. There is an important difference between the act of simply worrying about climate change and the negative impact that can be felt by those overwhelmed by anxious feelings around environmental issues. The Royal College of Psychiatrists tells us that it is, in fact, completely normal to have anxious feelings over current world affairs. Yet, issues arise when these feelings overwhelm, become hard to deal with and are detrimental to one’s mental health and wellbeing. These feelings can develop into a chronic and paralysing fear of environmental ‘doom’ which can disrupt an individual’s quality of life if they are not properly supported.

Although climate anxiety can be experienced by anyone, children and young people are the most likely group to be affected. One global survey measuring climate anxiety in children and young people (aged 16-25) revealed that:

  • 59% were very or extremely worried about climate change
  • 69% said they did not feel optimistic about the future
  • 67% said they felt afraid about climate change

In addition, almost half (45%) said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning. This serves to highlight the importance of providing support to these children and young people that are experiencing climate anxiety and evidences that this issue goes beyond simply worrying about the future.

What can be done – tips and advice

So, what can be done to aid those experiencing climate anxiety? Research that examines effective interventions for this growing issue is currently in short supply. That being said, there are some tools and tips available to help guide parents, caregivers and educational professionals in supporting children. Some simple steps that can be taken are:

  • Talking to children and young people about how they are feeling and reassuring them that those feelings are valid, whilst reminding them that it is not their responsibility alone and the situation is not their fault.
  • Encouraging them to take action. This can help them to feel more in control of the issue. Remind them that any contribution, however seemingly small, is still helping to make a positive difference.
  • Encourage them to stay hopeful and connected to others. Encourage them to talk to others about the situation. The knowledge that many people are going through similar experiences and sharing your feelings with others can be reassuring.

Alongside this, there are some more general tips that can support the management of anxious feelings and maintaining overall wellbeing. Keeping active, for example, is an important part of maintaining mental wellbeing. Exercising regularly and staying healthy can improve mood, reduce stress and help to alleviate anxiety. It can also support the environment e.g. (This can take the form of something like) encouraging children to cycle more instead of taking the car to lessen emissions.

Reading and wellbeing

Reading can also make a huge difference in supporting those experiencing general anxiousness and anxiety-related feelings. Reading can help to boost an individual’s ‘mental resilience’ to anxiety and anxious feelings. Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are better able to cope with difficult situations. Reading more can also act as a great springboard for additional conversations relating to the environment, helping to empower young people to take positive action.

Independent research commissioned by the Reading Agency in 2021 found that children who engaged more with reading for pleasure experienced a range of positive impacts on their wellbeing including reduced feelings of stress, alongside feeling happier and calmer. Reading can also help build understanding of issues and positive action.

Employing some, or all, of this advice can help to mitigate the impact that climate anxiety may have on one’s overall quality of life. It is normal to have some feelings of anxiety surrounding this topic. The goal is not to make all of those feelings disappear but, instead, lessen their ability to negatively affect the daily life and functioning of those that do worry about this very legitimate concern.

What we’re doing

In honour of Earth Day, Get Islington Reading, a joint initiative with The Reading Agency, National Literacy Trust and Islington Library Service, hosted an event for students from local Islington schools.

A panel of artists, writers and activists discussed themes of climate-anxiety, activism through art and how young people can use reading and writing as a tool to make positive change without facing overwhelm.

The event also provided pupils with an opportunity to make a difference in their own community, making eco-pledges, and feeding back ideas and questions to Islington Council, contributing to their Go Zero strategy to become a net zero carbon borough.
Find out more about the scheme here.

To support the Save Our Wild Isles Campaign, we curated this reading list to inspire young people to learn more about protecting our planet.
Check out the booklist here.

We also developed the Reading Well for Children and Teens schemes, to support the wellbeing of young people by providing information, advice and support to better understand their feelings, handle difficult experiences and boost confidence.
See our Reading Well for Teens booklist and Reading Well for Children booklist.

For the full list of references, see the PDF version here.

2023 International Booker Prize ‘subversive and sensual’ shortlist announced

The judges of the 2023 International Booker Prize have revealed the six shortlisted books representing the finest translated fiction from around the world. The announcement was made by the Chair of judges, Leïla Slimani, at an event held at the London Book Fair and livestreamed to readers around the world.

The Shortlist

  • Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated from Catalan by Julia Sanches
  • Whale by Cheon Myeong-Kwan, translated from Korean by Chi-Young Kim
  • The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé, translated from French by Richard Philcox
  • Standing Heavy by GauZ’, translated from French by Frank Wynne
  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
  • Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey

The shortlist of six novels includes works originating in six countries across four continents, and features:

  • Books that explore the challenges of motherhood, the struggles of undocumented workers and the
    dangers of nostalgia
  • ‘A distinctly Korean take on Great Expectations’ plus novels by ‘the grande dame of Caribbean
    literature’ and ‘a Proust from the East’
  • First nominations for books translated from Bulgarian and Catalan
  • A wife and husband author-translator team
  • One translator and one author who have been recognised by the prize before
  • A book published in its original language almost 20 years ago
  • Work by three poets, a film director and a former security guard
  • Two debut novels and one final novel – the latter by the oldest writer ever to be shortlisted

Find out more about the titles and why they were selected for the list with the Six things to know about the 2023 shortlist.

What the judges said

This year’s judging panel includes Leïla Slimani (Chair), prize-winning French-Moroccan novelist; Uilleam Blacker, one of Britain’s leading literary translators from Ukraine; Tan Twan Eng, the Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist; Parul Sehgal, staff writer and critic at the New Yorker; and Frederick Studemann, literary editor of the Financial Times.

Leïla Slimani, chair of the judges says:“I think I speak for the whole jury when I say that I am proud of this list. I think it’s a very cool, very sexy list. We wanted each book to feel like an astonishment and to stand on its own.

These books are all bold, subversive, nicely perverse. There is something sneaky about a lot of them. I also feel that these are sensual books, where the question of the body is important. What is it like to have a body? How do you write about the experience of the body? These are not abstract or theoretical books, but on the contrary, very grounded books, about people, places, moments. All these authors also question the narrative and what it means to write a novel today.

What is extraordinary about literature is that when a novel is successful, it works for anyone, anywhere. There’s something really magical about storytelling. And we have had the joy of experiencing this by reading the books on this list. We have been caught up in these stories, dazzled, fascinated and it is these emotions that we want to share. I’m very happy to offer this list to readers – a list of remarkable variety, where they will find poetry, fantasy, eroticism and metaphysics.”

Find out why, according to the judges, you should read the shortlisted books here.

The shortlist was chosen by the International Booker Prize 2023 judges from a longlist of 13 titles announced in March, which was selected from 134 books published in the UK or Ireland between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023 and submitted to the prize by publishers.

The winner of the International Booker Prize 2023 will be announced at a ceremony at Sky Garden in London on Tuesday 23 May.

Get involved

Librarians and teachers we have a free promotional pack to help you celebrate the International Booker Prize available in our shop.

Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Instagram using #InternationalBooker2023, or click on a title above to leave a review.

The Booker Prizes’ Book of the Month

Each month the Booker Prizes’ Book of the Month shines a spotlight on a different work of fiction from among the 600+ titles in the Booker Library, through reading guides, extracts, opinion pieces, competitions and discussions on our social channels. We will be updating this page on our website every month. Find out more here.

Laycock School of Rhyme

Get Islington Reading is a three-year project to develop a community of happy, confident readers across the borough. In collaboration with Islington Libraries, The Reading Agency worked with poet Paul Lyalls, who has been delivering workshops with Year 4 and 5 students at Laycock Primary School, to learn about poetry and create some of their very own. Focussing on reading and writing, the work they created in their workshops has been published as a book of poetry.

For the students, it’s had a huge impact on them and their engagement with reading. Teachers at Laycock Primary School have seen a marked difference in their approach to reading, writing, and learning.

One teacher said: ‘Before the workshops, my class was a real mixed bag in terms of engagement with reading. I had some children who were avid readers and would read every night and submit their reading records, and in contrast, I had some children who were reluctant to read at home or at school. However, since the workshops, almost my entire class are keen to read and engagement with writing has improved massively.’

They also said: ‘Overall, my class really enjoyed the workshops. They often ask me whether they will have the opportunity to work with Paul again in the future. After they adjusted to the change in the timetable, working with Paul became a staple in their week that they took part in with great enthusiasm. As it was first up on a Monday morning, I also noticed an improvement in attendance, which is an area that I have been striving to improve since September.’

Another teacher said: ‘Several children are now regularly asking to read their work to the class. They are clearly proud of what they have done, and I think that Paul has helped them see being a writer as a fun and cool thing to do and be.’

They also said: ‘Children definitely enjoyed the workshops and working with Paul. It is quite special for them to have built a relationship over time with someone who has ‘celebrity’ status, who takes them seriously as writers and who is a fantastic role model for writing.’

Paul Lyalls has described the book as ‘a partnership initiative between the ‘dedicated’ Laycock teachers and kids, the ‘always welcoming’ Islington Libraries, the ‘can-do’ of The Reading Agency and the ‘vision’ of Get Islington Reading.’ The book of poetry will also be available to loan from all Islington Libraries.

Look through the book below:

Find out more about Get Islington Reading.

World Book Night launches Road to Reading

World Book Night, the annual celebration of reading organised by The Reading Agency, is launching the Road to Reading. A 10-week initiative that challenges you to read for 30 minutes each week and see what a difference it makes to your life.

The challenge kicks off on World Book Night, during the Reading Hour (7-8pm) on Sunday 23rd April. Sign up to Road to Reading here.

With benefits including boosting self-esteem, supporting mental health, sparking curiosity and connecting us to others, regular reading is a vital tool for social and personal change. Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction, 52% more likely to feel socially included and 57% more likely to have better awareness of other cultures.

Perfect for those who used to read more but now struggle to find the time, or readers who haven’t picked up a book in a while, the Road to Reading invites everyone to pledge to read every week for 30 minutes, for a 10-week period. Regular readers are invited to join in by signing up and logging their reads, with survey insights feeding into a national study into reading and life satisfaction. The Reading Agency hopes that reading lovers will help to sign people up to take part, supporting our mission to get the nation reading!

To anyone taking part, The Reading Agency will be then sharing weekly tips, useful advice, reading recommendations and more, aimed at helping participants along the way. There will also be ideas for shorter reads from the Quick Reads series, and social media assets for people to share their progress with friends and family.

Together with the whole nation, The Reading Agency will be inviting participants in the Road to Reading to tick off their first 30 minutes of reading then, spending time with a good book and inviting others to do the same.

Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency, said:

The Road to Reading has launched! This World Book Night initiative will be a valuable tool for those new to reading or getting back into the swing. We hope that we can sign up as many participants as possible to feed into the national study and give us valuable insight into how reading habits are formed.”

For more information, please visit the World Book Night website.

Follow the latest developments on social media via:

@WorldBookNight @ReadingAgency / #WorldBookNight #ReadingHour

The Reading Agency

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