The Reading Agency Presents: our virtual events for schools

The Reading Agency Presents is our flagship virtual events programme, born out of the need to keep people connected and engaged with reading during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since our first event in May 2021, we have welcomed over 19,000 viewers with hundreds more watching our recordings on YouTube page. Our virtual events have remained an invaluable opportunity for people to discover brilliant books and meet authors. It has also enabled us to bring writers and illustrators to audiences across the country (and the world!) using a single link, continuing out mission to amplify voices and grow new audiences. Best of all – they are all completely free!

This year we are focusing on running interactive and engaging virtual events for Key Stage 2 classes. Our brilliant events this year have included an invention and creation session with Shane Hegarty, a storymakers session with Liz Flanagan and an interactive writing workshop with Swapna Haddow.

Find out about our upcoming events page.

The British Academy Announce the 2023 Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding

The shortlist for The British Academy’s Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding has been announced.

Now in its 11th year, the international book prize, worth £25,000, rewards and celebrates ground-breaking research-based works of non-fiction that have made an outstanding contribution to the public understanding of world cultures and the ways in which they interconnect.

This year’s esteemed jury of academics and journalists has chosen a shortlist of six exceptional books from almost 200 submissions, introducing readers to a wide range of globally significant topics such as:

  • the invention of books and libraries in the ancient world
  • the early use of photography to document colonial conflict
  • the role of ritual in human civilisation
  • China’s Cultural Revolution
  • a retelling of the story of global emancipation
  • the origins of empire in India.

The Shortlist

Chair of this year’s jury Professor Charles Tripp, Fellow of the British Academy comments:

This eleventh year of the British Academy Book Prize has attracted record numbers of entries from across the humanities and social sciences. We were greatly impressed by the exceptional quality of writing in this year’s shortlist and the ability of the authors to unearth extraordinary new discoveries and to find new perspectives on old perceptions. With my fellow jury members, we hope that readers will be inspired to explore the shortlist and thereby to discover something new about the world.

Get involved

The 2023 shortlisted writers will be brought together for a special event on Monday 30 October at the British Academy, in partnership with London Review Bookshop, and chaired by the award-winning journalist Rosie Goldsmith. The event is free but booking is required. Get your tickets here

The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony on Tuesday 31 October. Each of the shortlisted writers will receive £1,000 and will be livestreamed.

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

For more information, visit the British Academy Website

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The Reading Agency announces its drive to tackle the UK adult literacy crisis

The Reading Agency has today launched a new fundraising campaign focused on improving adult reading confidence across the UK.

The ‘Reading Power’ campaign aims to raise funds to deliver vital reading programmes and resources to the 8.5 million adults in the UK with low literacy skills. Funds raised will support The Reading Agency’s programmes like Quick Reads and Reading Ahead which provide accessible reads, tools and encouragement to help adults improve their reading confidence and ability.

With 1 in 6 UK adults struggling with reading, The Reading Agency is determined to tackle the national adult literacy crisis which limits life chances and access to work and health services. Adults with poor literacy face social isolation, stigma, and exclusion as they are unable to complete simple daily tasks many take for granted like reading a utility bill, instructions on medication or their child’s school report.

The charity is calling on the public to donate and help create a future where every adult can access the joy of reading and embrace its benefits for wellbeing, self-esteem and life prospects. As little as £10 can provide reading resources and guidance that help someone improve their reading skills and confidence.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “With so many adults in the UK lacking vital literacy skills, we want to empower people to unlock the life-changing power of reading. Our programmes have helped hundreds of thousands of readers grow their skills and confidence. But we urgently need support to reach millions more struggling with literacy, to help them gain skills, confidence and access to reading’s enriching benefits.”

Visit the fundraiser platform to support the charity’s mission and give adults the power of reading.


For all enquiries, please contact:
Alexander Turton [email protected]

The Summer Reading Challenge and Libraries: Abeeha, Ariba and Aamna’s story Story

We believe reading transforms lives. This Libraries Week, we’re looking at how libraries play a key role in encouraging children to read. We went to Abraham Moss Library in Manchester to hear from children and their families how the Summer Reading Challenge has empowered their reading.

Abeeha’s Story

4 year-old Abeeha lives with her mother, Noreena. This is her first year taking part in the Challenge.

How many books have you read this year and what have you been reading?
Abeeha: Five books already. I’ve read all sorts.

And have you always used the library regularly?
Noreena: Before, I’d go to the town centre to Central Library, because during that time this library was closed. So, when I found out this library had opened, we came right away.
We came inside and she chose her books and Abeeha said, “I want to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge,” because she loves to read. She chooses her own books and she’s read seven this summer.

What has taking part given you as a parent over the summer?
Noreena: You know, sometimes in the summer vacations, the parents still need to do some work so it can be a big challenge for parents. But I focus on her activities, her sports and her books. She just reads herself or I read story and she listens. But now we’ve started the Summer Reading Challenge there is big improvement. She now sees the pictures and makes a story in her mind.

So you see a difference in her imagination?
Noreena: Yeah. When I ask her about the books, she’ll tell me about the shapes and colours and starts making her own stories from the pictures. It’s a big improvement.

Ariba and Aamna’s story

Ariba, Aamna and Faisal live with their mother Aisha in Cheetham Hill.

Is this your first year doing the Summer Reading Challenge? What do you think about the theme this year?
Aisha: They’ve been taking part every summer for about four or five years now, ever since they started reading.
Aamna: I like the theme because sports is fun and good for getting people to read.

And what do you like about being in the library?
Ariba: I like being in the library because there’s lots of books and there’s fun activities that I can do. I get to come and read new books. I love reading and I love being challenged.
Aisha: My children, they love reading. Because of Covid, they closed the bigger library and they were very upset, because the smaller library a lot less books. When this library [Abraham Moss Library] opened, they were so excited to come the first day and they were like, “yay, new books!”

The Summer Reading Challenge actually helped them a lot to stay motivated because they know they’re going to get the certificate if you read a set amount of books.
Aamna is so excited to get the certificate and the medal. Every year she gets it, but every single time she gets new one, she gets more excited. Even though she has loads of medals at home. But every year is a different year.

Has the Challenge helped them to try new kinds of books?
Aisha: Yes, it helps them to try different books. They try small books and big books and then review them – some they find very boring and others they say are amazing. It challenges them.

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge motivates over 700,000 children of all abilities to read for enjoyment over the summer holidays. If you would like to support us in helping more children to discover the joy of reading, you can donate here.

Our 2023 Reading Partner Roadshows

Every year, the Reading Partners team at national charity The Reading Agency run roadshows with our publisher partners to connect publishers, teachers and librarians.

The virtual roadshows are an opportunity for library, prison and education sectors to hear from our publishing partners about their latest books, meet authors, enter giveaways and have the chance to ask questions about upcoming opportunities.

We hosted our 2023 Reading Partners Roadshows on the 8 and 9 November.

The Reading Agency see events such as this free two day programme event and our partnership with publishers and public and school libraries as key to delivering our mission to empower everyone to read. They also support our three key goals: connecting individuals and communities, supporting life skills and learning, and promoting health and well-being.

You can catch up with our Adult Reading Partners Roadshow with the recordings of the three sessions here.

Who presented at the Adult Reading Partners Roadshow?

Atlantic Books, Canongate, Head of Zeus, Hodder & Stoughton, Bloomsbury, Bonnier Books UK, Faber & Faber, Orion, The Quarto Group, Yale University Press, Cornerstone, Transworld and Michael Joseph!

You can catch up with our Children’s and Young People Reading Partners Roadshow with the recordings of the four sessions here.

Who presented at the Children’s and Young People Reading Partners Roadshow?

Knights Of, Pan Macmillan, Rebellion Publishing, UCLan Publishing, Bonnier Books UK Ltd, Faber & Faber, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Little Tiger, New Frontier, Nosy Crow, Andersen Press, b small publishing, Buster Books/Michael O’Mara Books, David Fickling Books, Rock the Boat/ Oneworld Publications, Bloomsbury, Hachette Children’s Group, Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster and Usborne!

More about Reading Partners

Reading Partners is a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and Publishers. It grew out of our shared agenda of getting more people to read more and is designed to support publishers to build audiences and reach new and engaged readers.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

The Reading Agency

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