Bestselling author Mark Billingham is giving his support to Reading Ahead 2019-20 with the pledge that he will include the name of the winner of our national prize draw in one of his future books.
Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor his first crime novel was published in 2001. Sleepyhead was an instant bestseller in the UK and was followed by a series of crime novels featuring London-based detective Tom Thorne and standalone thrillers that all became Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.
Mark has been a supporter for The Reading Agency and Reading Ahead for several years. He has also written two extremely popular Quick Reads: Cut Off in 2018 and a short story in Dead Simple, a collection of short crime stories from eight bestselling authors in 2017.
In pledging this prize, Mark said: "Like most writers I know, I'm only a writer because I'm a reader, and much as I love telling stories, nothing beats reading them. Losing yourself in a well-told tale is truly a magical thing and one for which I'm always grateful. So, wherever you are, start turning those pages, because one day soon you might find yourself reading a book you're starring in...".
This is now the third year we've have been able to offer this unique opportunity as a prize to our Reading Ahead completers.
Karen Napier, CEO at The Reading Agency said: "Mark's books are extremely popular amongst Reading Ahead participants, particularly his Quick Read, Cut Off, so we are delighted to have his support on this prize for 2019/20. The Reading Agency aims to tackle life's big challenges through the proven power of reading and Reading Ahead is all about inspiring new readers and broadening the reading community. We're always honoured when best-selling authors such as Mark join us in welcoming these readers."
This year's draw for Reading Ahead 2018-19 has seen Adele Parks commit to including Sunara Begum's name, a student at The Manchester College in her next book due to be published in 2022. In 2017-18 top crimewriter Ann Cleeves agreed to include the name of the winner Karan Pabla in a future title. His name will be appearing next year in her next Vera title.
Reading Ahead 2019-20 is currently underway with those organisations who began the programme in September. It continues until the summer of 2020 when we encourage participants and organisations to enter our prize draws by a deadline of 1 July. Organisations can take part at any time throughout the year so there's still time to get involved. Ten runners-up for the top prize will each receive £25 vouchers and one organisation from each sector (public libraries, learning providers, prisons and workplaces) will receive a visit from an author.
Now in its 13th year, Reading Ahead is designed to engage new readers and help them to improve their literacy and language skills at the same time.
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