The Scariest Character in Literature?

Halloween is upon us and we’re indulging in some frightful reads with a look back at some of literature’s scariest characters. Reader Volunteer David has been finding out which characters still gives Reader staff the shivers.

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Read to Lead: Three Christmas Challenge Volunteers start their Reader Journeys

As we countdown to the launch of The Reader’s Big Give Christmas Challenge, we’ve been catching up with three of the volunteers trained as a result of last year’s successful, award-winning campaign.

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Literary Pups: Bring Your Dog to Work Day

On this, Bring Your Dog to Work Day, we celebrate the four legged companions of our greatest writers! What an excellent excuse to look at cute pictures of dogs!

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Reading Round-Up

lessing_2743124bHere’s the latest nuggests of news from the world of literature, including libraries with famous donors, online libraries dedicated to bringing classics into the modern world – and even one that has no books at all…

How does such a thing work? Over to TRO’s Arts Admin Intern Rebecca Pollard with the lowdown:

Doris Lessing has bequeathed 3,000 books to a public library in Harare, Zimbabwe (where she once lived for over 20 years). Her opening remarks after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008 focussed on how people in Zimbabwe actively asked for books when she visited a school there in the 1980s.

The Guardian details this on its website.

How would you feel about entering a library with no books on the walls? A purpose-built bookless library has been unveiled at Florida Polytechnic University. The library features online electronic books and articles, and is relying on students to recommend the books and journals they need.

You can find more on this story here.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, an unpublished chapter of the story has been released online. The chapter, deemed too wild for children at the time, sees two new characters board a train out of the Vanilla Fudge Room.

The chapter also shows how Dahl’s original story changed to become the novel we love today: Charlie is visiting the factory with his mother, Mrs Bucket, rather than with Grandpa Joe, and we discover that Augustus Gloop was originally called Augustus Pottle.

You can read the unpublished extract on The Guardian’s website.

The British Library has recently launched the website Discovering Literature which features thousands of collection items about Victorian and Romantic authors. These items vary from modern articles written about these authors and their works, to the authors’ personal letters and their original inspiration.

The website is mainly targeted at GCSE and A-Level students, however it is the perfect way for everyone to access British literary classics and get into reading.

The website can be found here.

Eleanor Catton, the author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries, has recently announced that she plans to use her prize money to establish a grant that allows writers ‘time to read’. The idea for the grant is based in the idea that ‘writers are readers first’, and so the recipients of this grant would simply spend three months reading, and after this time passes, they publish a report about what they read and share their thoughts on this with others.

You can read more on this article on The Guardian website.

Half Term Hijinks and Open Day at Calderstones

kids craftingMay Half Term is fast approaching, which can only mean another round of Half Term Hijinks at Calderstones Mansion House! We’ve got lots of fun in store for little ones and the young at heart to join in with too – as well as tons of stories, there’ll be rhymes, creative crafts, yummy feasts and adventure galore.

The programme is from Tuesday 27th-Friday 30th May, with each day containing different events to keep you entertained all week long. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Tuesday 27th May

Fantastic Mr Fox Feast, 11am-1pm
Age: 5-8 years
Cost: £7.50 for 1st child, £4 for each additional child thereafter

Join us for a fantastical lunchtime feast inspired by Roald Dahl’s classic.

Wednesday 28th May

Sharing A Shell, 10-11.30am
Age: 2-5 years
Cost: £5

We’ll be singing, rhyming and creating our own sea creatures at this special reading session.

Thursday 29th May

Catch A Star, 10-11.30am
Age: 4-8
Cost: £5

This space themed reading session will be full of adventure, stars, aliens in underpants and rocket ships!

IMG_0378What The Ladybird Heard, 1-2pm *SOLD OUT*
Age: 0-2 years
Cost: £5

Tiny explorers can have some farmyard fun in this special interactive reading session.

Friday 30th May

Matilda and Charlie, 12-2pm
Age: 5-10 years
Cost: £7.50 for first child, £4 for each additional child thereafter

We’re exploring two of our favourite Roald Dahl books with bookworm book bags and Willy Wonka inspired feast.

Booking is required for all events and children must be accompanied by an adult. Visit our website to book your place online to each event via Eventbrite:
For more information, contact Roisin: or call 0151 724 5000.

On Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May, we’ll be opening the doors to the Mansion House for our second annual Open Day at Calderstones. Before Half Term Hijinks takes place, why not take the chance to look around and take a tour of Calderstones Mansion House? You’ll be able to meet staff from The Reader Organisation and learn about our development plans as we continue to transform the building into a centre of reading and wellbeing. There’ll also be lots to do on the day – take your choice from enjoying some shared reading, getting creative with our drop-in family craft workshops and munch on a tasty treat from The Reader Cafe!

The doors to the Mansion House will be open from 10am-4pm on 26th May and entry is completely FREE.

We look forward to welcoming you to Calderstones over the week!

For more about what’s coming up at the Mansion House, check out our What’s On guide, available to download from our website: