The Reading Agency Reveals 20th Birthday Celebrations to Get the Nation Reading Plus 7 New Ambassadors

Today, The Reading Agency announces its yearlong ‘Transforming Lives Through Reading’ 20th birthday campaign, inspiring the nation to get reading. Working in partnership with libraries, charities and other organisations, the campaign will celebrate the impacts of reading on health and wellbeing, social connection and life skills and learning.

2022 marks twenty years since the UK’s leading reading for pleasure organisation, The Reading Agency was founded by Debbie Hicks MBE, Miranda McKearney and Anne Sarrag. Since then, the charity has worked across the UK to prove the transformative effect reading has on people of all ages.

The Reading Agency will launch a social media campaign on Thursday 20th January, using the hashtag #ReadOn, encouraging the public to join in and share their stories of how reading has transformed their lives.

Throughout the year, The Reading Agency will deliver its longstanding programmes, including the annual Summer Reading Challenge for 4-11-year-olds; World Book Night, and its adult literacy programme Reading Ahead, along with special campaigns and projects with Sky Arts, Welsh Government and others. Highlights include:

  • Winter of Wellbeing: From January to March, The Reading Agency is working with libraries in Wales to launch a campaign to support reading and wellbeing for 0-25-year-olds as part of Welsh Government’s Winter of Wellness. The campaign includes creating free and accessible resources, local library event, national events and online activities, funded by the Welsh Government.
  • The Reading Adventure game launches in Islington – In March, the digital reading game for transitional age young people which piloted this year will be rolled out across Islington, inviting children to weave reading into an exploration of other areas such as sport, arts, music and nature.
  • World Book Night – On 23 April, the annual celebration of reading takes place with public events across the country and a national book giveaway of 84,000 books – including this year’s Quick Reads titles – through organisations such as health services, prisons, food banks and housing associations.
  • Sky Arts Access All Arts Week – From 6-10 June, The Reading Agency will be working with Sky Arts to deliver a week of activity in primary schools in Leeds on ‘reimagining storytelling’
  • Summer Reading Challenge and Teachers’ Reading Challenge – From June to September, The Reading Agency’s flagship programme for children will return with an accompanying challenge for teachers, inspiring them to read new texts to teach and share with their students.
  • StoryTrails 15 cities – In July and August, as part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK, The Reading Agency and partners such as the BFI will run a community-led immersive storytelling project which will tour 15 library authorities across the four nations, inviting people to reimagine local histories and share untold stories.
  • Reading Well young people’s booklist launch – In September, The Reading Agency’s clinically curated list of books which help young people to manage their mental health and wellbeing will be gifted to public libraries across the country

The Reading Agency is thrilled to welcome 7 Ambassadors to help champion the power of reading throughout the birthday year and beyond, including: performance poet and playwright, Joseph Coelho; naturalist, award-winning writer and broadcaster Dara McAnulty; award-winning and internationally best-selling author Dreda Say Mitchell; bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse; author, poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen; mathematics teacher, writer and television personality Bobby Seagull and poet, novelist and playwright, Benjamin Zephaniah.

Amanda Prowse, author, novelist and The Reading Agency Ambassador, said: “I am truly honoured to become an ambassador for The Reading Agency. I was a little girl who grew up in a house without any books. The day I walked into a library is one I’ll never forget. With a book in my hand, I was able to travel in my mind, curled on the sofa. I could shut out noise, close out chaos and feed my imagination. To help someone discover books, to encourage reading, is I think, one of the greatest acts of human kindness. It does good. It changes lives. It certainly changed mine.”

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “This is such a special celebratory year for our charity. While it is a moment to reflect, we are now looking forward and thinking about new ways to inspire people across the country to start their reading journey. We are delighted to have the support of our new Ambassadors as we begin this next chapter.”

Join in the conversation and follow the latest developments on social media: @ReadingAgency #ReadOn

The Reading Agency

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