The Reader Organisation is teaming up with Vintage Classics and the British Library to bring the famous Penny Readings to London for the first time. As we expand the reach of our Get Into Reading project across the city, bringing people together through shared reading, we thought it was about time that the event which has been unmissable in Liverpool for the last eight years should travel with us too.
Costing only a penny to attend, large public readings happened all across Victorian England, and Dickens himself toured Britain giving readings (although he charged slightly more for his – something like £20-30 in today’s money!). We’ve conflated the two to bring you the quality of Dickens’ readings at the bargain cost of only one penny – the Penny Readings!
The Penny Readings marks the beginning of his bicentennial year and will feature a fantastic ensemble of writers, musicians, magicians and readers, including authors AS Byatt and Louis de Bernières, and comedian Arthur Smith.
It will take place on Sunday 22nd January from 2pm-4:30pm and each ticket holder will also receive a copy of a Dickens novel published by Vintage Classics, for a donation of just one penny.
Jane Davis MBE, Founder and Director of The Reader Organisation says: ‘Dickens’ vision was so generous and energetic and we’re really looking forward to kicking off his bicentenary celebrations with our first Penny Readings event in London. We’ve got an exciting line-up of readers and performers coming together to celebrate the vitality of his work in the beautiful surroundings of the British Library. It’s going to be a magical event.’
The Penny Readings event at the British Library will also feature Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, author, speaker and great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens; BAFTA award-winning actress Anna Maxwell Martin who starred in the BBC adaptation of Bleak House; ‘music hall legend’ Ida Barr, Tweedy the clown, and award winning magician Romany, with more guests to be announced. As well as an afternoon of readings and entertainment, the audience can also visit the recently opened exhibition ‘A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural’ which runs until 4 March at the British Library and explains Dickens’ fascination with the supernatural, which influenced his ghost stories such as A Christmas Carol.
London Get Into Reading group members should contact their group faciliator, whilst the general public can reserve tickets here: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event127220.html.
See you there!