The snow didn’t hold us back this time and the new beginning for ‘New Beginnings’, our Conference, Supper and Readers’ Day, was deemed a triumphant success from all involved and attending. Delegates joined us from as far a field as London, Dundee, Cornwall, Durham, Monmouth and Denmark, to join in the discussion about the future of Get Into Reading and enjoy lots of reading together.
At the GIR Conference, Jane Davis talked through the story of Get Into Reading, which was followed by Blake Morrison talking about his first visit to Merseyside to write ‘that’ article and the impact that had not just on us but on him also. This was followed by a showcase of GIR facilitators from over the country, explaining how they’ve taken GIR back to where they live. The morning and afternoon workshops, which covered such diverse topics as: Reading with Young People, What is Reading?, MerseyBEAT Research Project and Get Into Reading in Libraries; were felt by delegates to be really informative and engaging – as was the whole conference. One lady said to me, “thank you for this, it’s been an invaluable experience for me.”
A particular highlight from Friday were the testimoinies spoken by some of our courageous Get Into Reading members, which were deeply moving and inspiring.
The Friday Night Supper saw Blackburne House transformed from day conference venue to an inviting, atmospheric dinner venue. Jane and Phil Davis were joined by David Constantine and Clare Allan to discuss ‘The Value of Reading in a Life’, which led to some amusing and heartfelt stories of the impact of reading. The audience joined in the conversation in great spirit and everyone left very full of food for the body and soul.
The Readers’ Day was great fun! Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips was our host and we had the presence of Clare Allan, Tim Pears and David and Helen Constantine, as well as TRO staff Angela Macmillan, Kate McDonnell and Jane Davis recommending their favourite reads for the first part of the day. Brian’s Paradise Lost workshop was particularly popular and I think everyone’s agreed that he needs to do one for each book of Milton’s epic…
Some comments from attendees:
“I found all the sessions so helpful and informative and the whole atmosphere so friendly and welcoming.”
“It’s been an invaluable experience for me.”
“A phenomenal inspiration: buzzy atmosphere, inspiring content, great lunch, excellent venue, fantastic organisers and punters, really good.”
“Please do this again next year!”
The Reading Revolution, it’s happening!