LightNight Liverpool 2016: Come see us at the Anglican Cathedral


LightNight returns to brighten the cityscape next month and The Reader have teamed up with Bido Lito! to illuminate the Anglican Cathedral.

Continue reading “LightNight Liverpool 2016: Come see us at the Anglican Cathedral”

Prof Maryanne Wolf at The Reader Organisation’s Conference

In the first of a series of short videos from our Reading for Wellbeing Conference on 17th May, here are a few highlights from Professor Maryanne Wolf‘s talk on the ‘Pleasures and Perils of the Evolving Reading Brain’:


Honorary Scousers Moved by Liverpool’s Surprising Beauty

Yesterday, following our Reading for Wellbeing Conference, TRO’s Director, Jane Davis, took Marilynne Robinson and Maryanne Wolf on a tour of Liverpool. While Marilynne and Maryanne were moved by the tour, Jane was staggered to realise how much she didn’t know about her home city.

Jane who has lived in Liverpool for 45 years had hardly any knowledge of the city’s deep relation to slavery until she booked Marilynne and Maryanne on Eric Lynch’s wonderful walking tour of the city. “If you have read Gilead you will know what I mean when I say it reminded me of the burned out Negro church”, said Jane, “I think every Scouser should take Mr Lynch’s tour.”
Both Marilynne and Maryanne were as moved as Jane was by the experience. “And of course it is Liverpool so we had a good laugh too” said Jane, “especially watching Mr Lynch trying to keep the irrepressible Maryanne in order!”
The photos and captions below should give you a little taste of it all (and thanks Dave for organising it):
Marilynne, Maryanne and Eric on the tour
“Every major city should have an Eric,” Marilynne Robinson
Walking through Sefton Park's 'Fairy Dell'
Maryanne shows of her reading skills in Sefton Park's Palm House
Maryanne was particularly amazed by this blue Bird of Paradise, “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
Marilynne and Maryanne were delighted by the Palm House and deeply moved to learn how local people saved it

Reading for Wellbeing: what a Conference!

Well, another year, another brilliant TRO conference…

250 people joined us from across the UK and beyond for a full day of reading, thinking and discussion. It was an incredibly enjoyable event, and we were delighted to have been joined by such acclaimed speakers, in particular, Marilynne Robinson and Professor Maryanne Wolf.

Here’s a selection of feedback we’ve received from the day:

What a revelation it was to me to be at the Home discussion. It made me understand more about how people read than anything I’ve done for a long time.

Thank you for the warm welcome, for the experience, for a very well organised conference and most importantly for the inspiration afforded by all these testimonies of life changes triggered by reading.

A wonderful day, it was incredibly inspiring.

The day as a whole was great – an inspiring and fascinating examination of the power of reading

Food for the soul

It was all immensely stimulating

Reaffirmation of personal and professional belief in the power of reading

And see below for some conference pictures (all c. Deana Kay Photography):

The two fantastic conference reads
(L-R) Mersey Care Knowledge & Library Services Manager Cath McCafferty and TRO staff Emily Lezzeri, Eleanor McCann, and Mary Weston lead a group session
The fabulous Maryanne Wolf discusses the pleasures and perils of an evolving reading brain with our delegates
Marilynne Robinson leads a moving talk about the work of Walt Whitman

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Reading for Wellbeing Conference Tomorrow!

Both of our American guest speakers for tomorrow’s conference have made it safely across the Atlantic and everybody in The Reader office is really excited that the Reading for Wellbeing Conference is just a day away!

People are dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s, shouting at the printer until it surrenders and works, photocopying handouts, reading over their materials and planning their trip to New Brighton, whether that be via car, bus, train or given the setting next to the Mersey, speedboat. NB We are not aware of any Reader staff owning a speedboat, so please do not pester us for a water-based lift.

Pulitzer and Orange Prize winning author Marilynne Robinson and Tufts University (based in Boston) literacy expert Professor Maryanne Wolf are both recovering from flights, sampling the delights of Liverpool and of course, gearing up for what should be compelling appearances at New Brighton Floral Pavilion.

There will be a variety of workshops at the Conference including a discussion of Professor Wolf’s Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain and Marilynne Robinson will participate in a discussion regarding her novel Home.

As the minutes tick by and the day draws closer everybody just wants the day to begin so we can meet the delegates and provide them with a fascinating day of new and effective ideas and practices involving reading.

In the morning there will be Reader staff at the train station and en route guiding people to the Floral Pavilion. Have a safe trip and hopefully we will see you all tomorrow!

Dinner and Reading with Marilynne Robinson – SOLD OUT

Dinner and Reading with acclaimed author Marilynne Robinson on Monday 16th May is now SOLD OUT.

If you would like the opportunity to hear from Marilynne in person, there’s still time to book one of the last remaining places at our Reading for Wellbeing Conference (Tuesday 17th May, Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, CH45 2JS). Hurry, they’ve almost sold out!

Contact Claire for more information and to book your place:

Marilynne Robinson: Guest Speaker at TRO Reading for Wellbeing Conference

Everyone at The Reader Organisation is looking forward to Marilynne Robinson’s appearance at our Reading for Wellbeing Conference next Tuesday (17th May).

Marilynne is an American award-winning novelist, picking up the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Gilead and the Orange Prize for Fiction for her 2008 work Home.

Gilead was Marilynne’s second novel, coming some 24 years after her first – Housekeeping. She has also written non-fiction about various topics including Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria in Mother Country and an investigation into the use of science by crusading atheists in Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self .

As you may expect from a prize-winning author, Marilynne has always been a keen reader, as the following extract from a 2009 interview with The Guardian illustrates:

Robinson made her first attempt at Moby-Dick at the age of nine – people mocked her for carting it around and she finished it to spite them – and then “read my way down the shelf in the library”.

Marilynne has a fan in the form of US President Barack Obama, who lists Gilead amongst his favourite books on his Facebook page. This sits alongside Moby Dick by Herman Melville, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln and Self-Reliance by highly-regarded philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. In the aforementioned interview with The Guardian Marilynne indicated that she was in turn, inspired by the orations of Obama:

On a shelf in Robinson’s living room is a large framed poster of a quote by President Obama: “For as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible.”

Marilynne will be joined as a guest speaker by Professor Maryanne Wolf, more information about the conference is available here.

Dear parent: why your dyslexic child struggles with reading

Professor Maryanne Wolf

On the Guardian‘s education blog today, Professor Maryanne Wolf explains, in a letter to parents of children with reading problems, how dyslexic children’s brains are organised differently:

It all begins with understanding that reading does not come naturally to human beings. We humans invented literacy, which means it doesn’t come for free with our genes like speech and vision. Every brain has to learn it afresh. Learning to read for the brain is a lot like an amateur ringmaster first learning how to organise a three-ring circus. He wants to begin individually and then synchronise all the performances. It only happens after all the separate acts are learned and practised long and well. In childhood, there are three, critical “ring acts” that go into the development of reading: learning about the world of letters; learning about the individual sounds inside of words (which linguists call phonemes); and learning a very great deal about words.

Read it in full here.

Professor Wolf will be speaking at our Reading for Wellbeing Conference on ‘The Pleasures and Perils of an Evolving Reading Brain’, on Tuesday 17th May, New Brighton, Wirral.

Reading for Wellbeing Conference – last few places available!

There are only a few tickets available for our Reading for Wellbeing Conference on 17th May 2011 at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, Wirral, so book now to reserve your space and hear from our very special guest speakers from the USA: Pulitzer and Orange prize-winning novelist, Marilynne Robinson (Gilead and Home), and acclaimed author and researcher Professor Maryanne Wolf (Proust and the Squid); plus Professor Rick Rylance (AHRC) and Sue Charteris (Shared Intelligence).

“Get Into Reading is one of the most significant developments to have taken place in Mersey Care NHS Trust and mental health practice in the last ten years.” Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust; Psychiatrist of the Year 2009.

In a day of conversation, debate and reading, find out how literature can help you in your profession, your community and in your own life. Newly published research from TRO and Liverpool Health Inequalities Research Institute, ‘Therapeutic Benefits of Reading in Relation to Depression’, will also be presented.

“It means a lot to me to be part of this reading group and it has helped me in my life outside the group as well.” Get Into Reading group member

Don’t forget: you can also join TRO and Marilynne Robinson for dinner on the 16th May at 7.30pm, Blackburne House (Blackburne Place, Liverpool, L8 7PE).

Maryanne Wolf: Reading is not Natural

It seems like the most natural thing in the world for many of us now but a long while ago, we had to teach our brains the processes of reading. And as we know, for many people, that can be a really hard task. Professor Maryanne Wolf, the Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, who will be giving a headline talk at our Reading for Wellbeing conference next month, explains:

…reading is, in a way, a mirror to the human ability to go beyond what we were programmed to do…