Jojo Moyes urges government, publishers to “take Quick Reads forward”

The following is an excerpt taken from Jojo Moyes’s speech at the launch of Quick Reads 2020 at Waterstones, Piccadilly, on 20 February. It has been edited for web use.

Last year I was asked to give a speech at a Downing Street reception for philanthropists, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t give them what they wanted to hear from me. Because while I’m proud to be able to support this programme [Quick Reads], I don’t think it should be down to one individual to fund it.

Reading is the most basic of building blocks, for knowledge, for power, for empathy. It gives confidence. It provides a holiday from everyday life. Publishers – in a world where children’s attention is increasingly snagged by screens and computer games, adult literacy should be as much a seeding ground for you as young readers. One in six is a lot of potential book buyers.

If there is anyone here from government, you should note that countries with the highest literacy rates also report the highest per capita income. And that’s not fiction.

So while I want to congratulate everyone here for supporting Quick Reads, I would also urge you to consider how you might help take this forward. This relatively low cost programme is funded for two further series, but beyond that it needs help to secure its future.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll all spread the word, encourage other writers to take part, and reinforce the popularity of these books.

Get involved

Buy Quick Reads online and support independent bookshops via Hive.

The Reading Agency

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