The Reading Agency has announced a day of virtual celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of Quick Reads and publication of this year's titles, alongside a branding refresh for the life-changing adult literacy programme.
On Thursday 27 May, the festivities will begin at 2pm with the Quick Reads Lecture at Hay Festival, with ambassador Jojo Moyes in conversation with Oyinkan Braithwaite, who has written one of this year's titles: The Baby is Mine. The two bestselling authors will discuss the importance of reading, how it changed their lives and how reading has the power to benefit the nation at such a vital time in our lives. Tickets for this event are free and can be booked on the Hay festival website here.
The 15th anniversary celebrations continue at 6pm with an event curated by The Reading Agency and hosted by CEO Karen Napier, showcasing the impact of this transformative programme tackling the adult literacy crisis. Launching the evening will be five of this year's authors - Louise Candlish, Khurrum Rahman, Peter James, Katie Fforde and Oyinkan Braithwaite - chaired in conversation by Quick Reads Commissioning Editor Fanny Blake.
This will be followed by a panel of librarians and adult literacy practitioners sharing their experience of these short, impactful books: how they are used across the adult learning sector, why they are so important, and the ways in which these short stories by bestselling authors can change lives. Joining the panel is James Avison, Librarian at Tameside Libraries; Clare Canavan, Librarian at HMP Downview; Baljinder Bains, Librarian at Burton & South Derbyshire College; and David Reynolds, Quick Reads literacy editor and adult literacy teacher. The panel will be chaired by best-selling author and Reading Ahead ambassador Bali Rai.
Tickets for the Quick Reads 15th Anniversary Celebration are free and can be booked via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/quick-reads-publication-day-event-tickets-154428412539
Since launching in 2006, Quick Reads titles have been loaned out over 6 million times and over 5 million copies have been distributed with the generous support of publishers and donors. Last year, Quick Reads reached over 360,000 readers, via library issues, sold copies and publisher donations.
A reader survey found that Quick Reads have a significant impact on readers' future engagement with reading for pleasure: 85% of respondents agreed that they would like to try another Quick Read after reading one of the titles; one-third (33%) said they would now like to read more often; almost half (49%) said that they would like to read another book by the same author and 37% said they planned to borrow more books from the library. Importantly, Quick Reads also had an impact on confidence and connectedness as one quarter of respondents (25%) reported that they would like to 'try new things' as a result of reading a Quick Read and one-third of respondents (32%) said that reading their Quick Read made them want to talk to others more about books and reading.
"I think it made me feel more confident. [It gave me] a break from my reality and knowing that it can change." --Quick Reads survey respondent
The survey also gained an insight into the motivating factors that encouraged people to engage with Quick Reads. The vast majority (90%) of respondents said that relaxation was a key motivating factor for them when reading, making Quick Reads' short length and accessible structure well-suited to engage these readers. Almost 2 in 3 respondents (64%) said that learning about the world and other people's lives motivated them to read.
"I am in a supportive book club, where we all take turns in choosing the next read. following the death of my son there was a struggle to find a book that seemed right--not too difficult (I couldn't concentrate on reading), too much death, a comedy!. A couple of really bland books were suggested in the early months that nobody really enjoyed but we wanted to stay connected. The Quick Reads allowed that, quick, easy to read, short and gentle books which we could talk about together and keep the group going ...the quick reads allowed our group to...stay connected and that enabled deeper reads and conversations in the future." --Quick Reads survey respondent
The full evaluation report of the 2020 Quick Reads programme will be published on The Reading Agency website next week.
Buy one, Gift one
This year, as The Reading Agency celebrates 15 years of the Quick Reads programme they will be able to get even more of these transformative books into the hands of those who struggle with reading or have limited access to books. Thanks to generous support from the six publishers a new 'Buy one, gift one' campaign will see every book bought from publication through to 31 July 2021 matched with a donated copy that The Reading Agency will distribute.
The Reading Agency has also revealed new streamlined branding for the Quick Reads programme, designed by illustrator Soofiya, which will be rolled out across the website, social media and in retailers (including Asda, Sainsbury's, the Works and WH Smith) on publication. Downloadable posters and digital assets will be made available for libraries and independent bookshops.
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: "The impact from last year demonstrates the instrumental role that Quick Reads plays in encouraging adults to discover the joys of reading and to build long-lasting engagement. Sharing the proven power of reading with as many as people as possible is at the heart of what we do at The Reading Agency and we are thrilled that in Quick Reads 15th anniversary year, these life-changing and brilliant books will be available in more bookshops, libraries, prisons, colleges and adult learning centres than ever before. We are incredibly grateful to our publishing partners and extraordinary authors, and are looking forward to celebrating the 2021 launch at Hay Festival with the incomparable and inspiring Quick Reads Ambassador Jojo Moyes."
Find out more about the Quick Reads programme, the 2021 titles and how to pre-order them.
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