Blake Morrison agrees to be Chair of The Reader Organisation Board

Recently, The Reader Organisation has established itself as a company limited by guarantee and is applying for charitable status. This means that we are now an organisation in our own right and whilst we are still supported by the University of Liverpool we are no longer part of its constitution. The Reader Organisation is delighted to announce that novelist, journalist and ‘bibliotherapy’ advocate, Blake Morrison, has agreed to be Chair of our Board of Trustees.

Jane Davis, Director of The Reader Organisation, has responded in excitement to the news, saying:

I am so thankful for Blake’s support and commitment. To have such a high profile ‘voice’ for The Reader Organisation will enable us to go forward with added confidence; to get more people reading, experiencing and benefiting from great books.

Our connection with Blake Morrison was made when he travelled to Liverpool to visit reading groups from The Reader Organisation’s outreach project ‘Get Into Reading’. So inspired by what he witnessed he wrote a feature length article for the Guardian (‘The Reading Cure’, 5th January 2008), which focused predominately on our ‘Get Into Reading’ project and draws attention to the benefits for well-being through literature. Although scientific evidence for ‘bibliotherapy’ is inconclusive, it is becoming recognised that books can reach out and touch people in ways that are impossible in traditional medicine:

These reading groups aren’t just about helping people feel less isolated or building their self-esteem… More ambitiously, they’re an experiment in healing, or, to put it less grandiosely, an attempt to see whether reading can alleviate pain or mental distress.

We were flooded with responses after this article was published – from people from all over the UK and Ireland, as well as France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and the United States – a clear indication that there is a huge potential take-up of ‘Get Into Reading’ practice. Jane has been leading ‘Get Into Reading’ training days across the county, offering an introduction to the basic principles of the initiative and discussing the possibilities of implementing the project nationally.

As a genuine supporter of our work, we’re excited about forging this relationship with Blake. It will enable The Reader Organisation to build upon its recent successes and it firmly establishes us as the recognised authority in reading and health.

Posted by Jen Tomkins