Spot The Reader!

About eighteen months ago, I received a call from a production assistant of a film asking if I could send a selection of back issues of The Reader magazine to Pinewood Studios. “They’re going to be in the main character’s – a writer – room, on the bookshelves, are you happy to allow us do that?” Happy? To see The Reader on a large screen? You bet. (Most people pay for this sort of product placement, don’t they?)

I made note of the film, Tamara Drewe, in my diary for the scheduled release date (September 2010) and somewhat forgot about it. Now, here we are at that time, the film’s a huge success and I haven’t yet been to see and try to spot The Reader (but it is my mission at the weekend). Have you?! Please let me know if you see those copies on the bookshelf.

It may look like this...

In case you miss it on the big screen, you can a copy of The Reader to see it for yourself: visit the magazine pages on our website.

Rising to the Literacy Challenge: Building a bright future for Britain

Tuesday 21 September 2010, 17.30-18.30
Starbucks Coffee House, Liverpool ONE (free coffee and cake)

Jane Davis joins Lord Graham Tope, Judy Friedberg (Guardian), Jonathan Douglas (Director, National Literacy Trust) in a panel discussion chaired by the New Stateman‘s Spencer Neal about how changes to the literacy landscape under the new Coalition Government could enable us to rise to the literacy challenge.

This event is one of a series of fringe debate events the National Literacy Trust are holding at each political party conference this autumn. The events, kindly supported by Starbucks, will give the panellists the chance to explain their ideas for how we can create a more literate Britain. Given the wide range of specialisms among the speakers the discussion will focus on a number of areas surrounding the literacy landscape including libraries, schools and early years settings.

For further information about these events, click here.

A Little, Aloud: An anthology of prose and poetry for reading aloud to someone you care for

Published 30th September

The Reader Organisation has joined forces with Chatto & Windus to publish A Little, Aloud, a selection of the very best prose and poetry especially chosen for reading aloud – to your husband or wife, a sick parent or child, an elderly relative, to someone who finds it hard to concentrate for long or simply someone who will enjoy being read to. Through our work, we are discovering that reading aloud brings remarkable health and happiness benefits: it stimulates thought and memory, encourages the sharing of ideas and feelings, hopes and fears – enriching our lives and minds.

Angela Macmillan’s wonderful collection has something for everyone – from Shakespeare, Dickens, George Eliot and the Brontës, to Chekhov, Seamus Heaney, Doris Lessing, Elizabeth Jennings, Saki, Anna Sewell and more – all tried and tested by us, and with lively reading notes and ideas based on actual discussions from our ‘Get Into Reading’ groups.

All royalties in full go to The Reader Organisation.

“Reading aloud is an activity that everyone can take part in. It sharpens the intellect, invigorates the imagination and enlarges the scope of human sympathy. If we all read aloud every day, the world would be a better place.” Philip Pullman

“I think this book is an incredible invention, and like all great inventions, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.’’ Maureen Lipman

“I read to stroke victims so know first-hand the power of good that reading aloud can do. This first-rate collection is a real treasure trove and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”  Richard Briers

“Being read to is the beguiling beginning of learning to love reading – it opens the door to absolutely everything and anything we might want to do in life.”
Joanna Trollope

A Little, Aloud is wonderful – a luscious, challenging enticement to read and hear and share the love of doing both.” Howard Jacobson

“Reading aloud is pleasure. Pure pleasure.” Stephen Fry

A perfect gift for Christmas – for you, or those you care for – buy here.


Wednesday, 29 September 2010, 6:00 PM

Join The Reader Organisation and some special guests in a evening of readings and discussions about reading aloud for health and wellbeing to launch A Little, Aloud in its home town.

Further details: call 0151 709 9820 (tickets are free) SOLD OUT

Monday, 4 October 2010, 6:30PM

An evening of readings and discussions about reading aloud for health and well-being to launch A Little, Aloud, with special guests Joanna Trollope, Blake Morrison and Richard Briers.

Further details: call 020 7851 2400 (tickets £3 (redeemable against purchase of the book on the night)

Angela Macmillan is co-editor of The Reader magazine, published quarterly.

Event: Pies, Peas and Poetry

Pies, Peas and Poetry (plus guests)
Tuesday 28 September at 7.30p.m
ACE Centre, Nelson

Another of Borderline’s famous live poetry events hosted jointly with A Good Read. With guests Blake Morrison, Clare Shaw, Tricia Ashworth, Richard MacSween and open mic.

Join us for a relaxed evening of poetry, cabaret style event in the Performance suite, at the ACE Centre, Nelson. Tickets for this evening event (£6 or £5 concessions) should be booked in advance via the ACE centre on 01282 661080 or online.

Our very special guests at this event include two of Burnley’s most famous poetic daughters: Clare Shaw who has used poetry extensively to explore her mental breakdown and Tricia Ashworth who brings to life the imaginative frenzy and topsy-turvy ingenuity of dyslexia. Other guest, Blake Morrison, grew up in Earby, and is well known author of And When Did You Last See Your Father? and The Last Weekend. He writes extensively on literature and cure.

We really hope you can join us!

— — —

Please note this event follows on from a celebration event during the daytime, also at the ACE centre, focusing on the health benefits of reading fiction and poetry.To find out more about this daytime event and the Get Into Reading East Lancashire project, please contact Janet Swan at A Good Read on 01282 414287, and be sure to book early for the evening event!

Communications Internship: Applications Open

Learn valuable work experience in a leading arts organisation: join the lively and committed team at The Reader Organisation, a charity which is working to bring about a reading revolution – bringing books to life by reading together.

This was an extremely rewarding experience both professionally and personally. I was trusted early with a varied body of roles and responsibilities – from events management, to promotions, to media relations – which not only provided the opportunity to step straight on the learning curve, but also, crucially, the confidence to express myself and trust my judgment(s). The team is warm and welcoming, truly in love with TRO’s drive towards a ‘reading revolution’. It was a great working environment: encouraging creativity and nurturing individuality. Not every intern can say they get out what they put in – and more! By the end of the four months I felt proud of what I’d achieved, and grateful for being part of such an inspiring charity. In fact, I hope to continue my work at The Reader Organisation beyond my internship!

Leila Green, past Communications Intern

Internship details

Our Communications Internship offers you work experience in a variety of areas, including: events management, publicity and PR, marketing and online communications; as well as working with other members of the Operations Team.

Hours: 37 hours per week
Remuneration: Travel expenses paid
Reporting to: Communications Manager
Start date: Monday 25th October
End date: Friday 25th February
(Dates are flexible)

View full details of the internship here.

Please send your CV and covering letter to Jen Tomkins, Communications Manager: or The Reader Organisation, 19 Abercromby Square, L69 7ZG.

Deadline for applications is 5pm, Friday 8th October 2010.

Interviews will be held at The Reader Organisation offices at 19 Abercromby Square on Friday 15th October 2010.

Alexei Sayle Book Launch and Signing

Saturday 11th September 2010, 2.00pm

at News from Nowhere Bookshop

96 Bold St, Liverpool, L1 4HY –  0151 708 7270

Alexei Sayle has fittingly chosen to launch his brand new autobiography, Stalin Ate My Homework (Sceptre £20 HB) at News from Nowhere, one of the few radical bookshops in the country.

As a child of Liverpool Communists growing up in Anfield, Alexei was destined to be different. He was born on the day egg rationing came to an end. His family ate salad and read the Soviet Weekly. They holidayed behind the Iron Curtain and ate strange smelling sausages. His mother was very keen on boiled eggs and the Moscow State Circus. Teachers were scared of her. His father was a union leader who made friends wherever he went and thought he was fluent in Esperanto. Alexei became a member of the Czechoslovakian Young Pioneers. Sometimes he was bored and other times confused. He spent a lot of time inventing complex explanations for the bizarre behaviour of grown-ups. Slowly it dawned on him that telling stories was a good way of making sense of his perplexing world.

Luckily for us, for in this story of his own bizarre childhood he has given us his best writing yet. And it’s hilarious.

All will be welcomed in the true spirit of Communism, refreshments will be provided for weary travellers on the path to peace and justice, and Alexei will adorn the book with his signature if you buy one.

A £2 News from Nowhere voucher (redeemable against future purchases) will accompany every book bought on the day.

Further information: Mandy Vere, News from Nowhere Bookshop (0151 708 7270

Click here to read a review on our blog of Alexei’s book by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

The Reader 39: From Dog to God

The Everything Issue!

For this quarter’s issue of The Reader magazine, you’ll find everything – from dog to God – including contributions from some very famous names: The Wire‘s Sonja Sohn, acclaimed authors Salley Vickers and Clare Allan, the marvellous David Constantine and many, many more…

Featured inside:

  • An interview with Sonja Sohn – star of the acclaimed television drama The Wire and co-founder of the Baltimore charity Rewired for Change
  • Clare Allan – author of Poppy Shakespeare – investigates the genetic make-up of her dog, Meg
  • Fiction by Salley Vickers and Stanley Middleton
  • Poetry from David Constantine and Angela Leighton
  • and we couldn’t have everything without all the fantastic features and competitions you’d expect from your quarterly dose of Reader goodness.

Buy it here!


After Romeo and Juliet last weekend, love is floating around the air in The Reader Organisation office (and, I am led to believe, at Croxteth Fire Station). So it seems rather timely that I came across Alikewise this morning.

Alikewise is a dating website that is based on your book tastes: anything from cooking to climbing to Shakespeare to poetry. In their words, “we think we can find others who would like to talk to you”. I haven’t tried to find love on it (not sure that my boyfriend would be too happy about that), so I can’t vouch for its claim but it may be a bit of fun for any lonely readers out there and if nothing else, you may pick up a good reading recommendation.

Romeo and Juliet Set the Fire Station Alight

This report is from Kev Higgins, Merseyside Community Theatre’s Media Assistant

Four performances, three long days of technical and dress rehearsals, three weeks of hard rehearsals, two weeks of auditions, five months of outreach and advertising, and many difficult decisions later, we had Romeo and Juliet at the Fire Station. The Merseyside Community Theatre production ran from Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th August 2010 and was enjoyed by hundreds of people at each show.

This, from Catherine Jones at the Liverpool Echo, goes some way to explain the wonders of the theatrical set at the Croxteth Fire Station:

Set designer Olivia du Monceau makes inventive use of the site, turning outbuildings into the Capulet Cavern and cafe, a curtain-sided lorry into Friar Laurence’s (Caoim Eaves) cell, and a hanger into a party venue where the young cast put on an entertaining rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ routine as Romeo meets Juliet over the fruit punch.

(c) Deana Kay

Through the dedication of the production crew and the time the cast has given up in order to take part, we have created something we can be very proud of. There are so many great memories I will take away from this project, and many many more to come flooding back once we start releasing photographs and video.

Talking of photographs and video… we have a lot! There are hundreds of photographs we will be releasing over the coming days and weeks on our media pages, and to follow, the complete play on DVD from The Reader Organisation.

Thank you to all involved in making this project happen, and to our cast and crew as without their performances and knowledge, none of this would have taken place.