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Get ready for festival of reading

Published on Friday, September 27, 2019

Image: A cartoon of children reading to promote the Everybody's Reading festival

More than 140 events dedicated to writing, drama, poetry and fiction will take place in Leicester next month as the prestigious Everybody’s Reading festival is launched.

This year, De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s public engagement team at DMU Local is the main sponsor and organiser of the event which aims to inspire, champion and instil a love of reading in all.

There are events for all ages and in all venues – from coffee shops to bars, community centres and of course, libraries.

Jess Bogic, event co-ordinator at DMU Local, said organisers wanted to ensure that events went to the people, rather than the other way around.

She added: “The event’s aim is to take reading out to the wider community in Leicester so that children, parents, grandparents and the people of Leicester have an opportunity to come to events inspired by books, reading and words.” 

This year is the 10th anniversary of Everybody’s Reading, and will be the biggest and best yet with 146 events taking place across a whole month, instead of the previous nine-day festival.

Among the events are the Leicester Writers’ Showcase; a live book club on BBC Radio Leicester, the story of Leicester’s protest against the National Front in 1979, and a chat with Britain’s former Canal Laureate, Jo Bell.

Mahsuda Snaith, author of How to Find Home which was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, and Jacob Ross, author of bestselling crime novel The Bone Readers, will also be giving readings and talks.

A host of children’s activities will include a Gruffalo-themed event, the chance for children to write their own comics - inspired by Marvel - and arts and crafts.

Everybody’s Reading has previously hosted world-famous authors such as Michael Rosen, Helen Skelton and Michael Morpungo at events. Local writers and performers like poet Jess Green, writers Bali Rai and Rod Duncan, and all-round wordsmith Carol Leeming have also made appearances.

Peter Flack, Chairman of the Everybody’s Reading Steering Group, said: “When the festival began, it was a small festival with most of the events centrally organised and taking place in the city centre. Our ambition was to develop a real people’s festival of reading, with the events run mainly by people in the community.

“We wanted the festival to take place across the whole city, out on the estates and in local neighbourhoods. We wanted it to happen where people already go; in coffee shops, in pubs, in community centres, in parks and libraries. We wanted reading to be central to the daily life of Leicester.

“Thanks to our new partnership with DMU Local, this year the festival has more events than ever before. It also spans the whole month of October, with a diverse and colourful range of activities that are open to all.”

Cllr Kirk Master, assistant city mayor responsible for neighbourhoods at Leicester City Council, said: “We love the Everybody’s Reading festival and are always happy to support it. It’s great to see so much happening out in our neighbourhoods this year.

“As well hosting events in our network of libraries and community centres, staff from our neighbourhood services, museums and adult skills and learning service will help to support and promote the festival.

 “Reading changes lives. Everybody’s Reading is a celebration of the amazing power of reading and a chance to inspire, instill and spread a love of reading across our diverse communities. I hope as many people as possible get the chance to experience this great festival for themselves.”

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