The Opposite of Loneliness: Life As A Newly-Graduated Intern

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With much of the world in ‘back to school’ mode, many new graduates may be feeling a bit lost but fear not! Reassuring words from literature and our Communications Intern, Lauren Holland.

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Big Lottery Volunteers celebrate end of a remarkable chapter

Big Lottery Collage

As the Big Lottery Merseyside project comes to an end, Volunteers met to celebrate the end of one chapter, and the beginning of the next. The Reader’s Head of Membership, Ben Davis pays tribute to a fantastic project and the people who made it.

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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.

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A Little, Aloud with Love is launched!

Last week was a special one – not only because it was Valentine’s Day, but also because we officially launched A Little, Aloud with Love!

Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds Leon and June read at our A Little, Aloud with Love launch in Waterstones Liverpool ONE
Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds Leon and June read at our A Little, Aloud with Love launch in Waterstones Liverpool ONE

Our destination was Waterstones Liverpool ONE – a beautiful and suitably intimate setting for book lovers. Before things got underway, guests were treated to fizz, nibbles, chocolate and even Love Hearts, if they took their fancy, and were serenaded with live love songs from our musicians playing everything from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran – the mood was perfect to make us feel full of love.

Owner of one of the smoothest voices on radio, BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips played host for the evening, leading us effortlessly through the many aspects of love the book contains and posing some romantic teasers to our guest readers. Starting the evening in style actor, performer and presenter Mike Neary read Haruki Murakami’s On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, causing sighs and contemplation, giving lots to think on the topics of love at first sight and feelings of romantic deja vu. Mike also spoke about the beauty of reading aloud, which is something we definitely agree with!

The evening took a more poignant turn with paired readings from A Little, Aloud with Love’s editor Angela Macmillan and Professor Philip Davis, Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool. Angie read a heartwrenching extract from Under Storm’s Wing, written by Helen Thomas in memory of her husband, the poet Edward Thomas, who was killed in World War One. Hearing it next to a poem from Edward – emotionally titled And You, Helen, and read by Professor Davis – made the selection all the more moving.

Our amazing editor Angie Macmillan signs copies of the book for an eager audience
Our amazing editor Angie Macmillan signs copies of the book for an eager audience

After a break for more treats amongst the rose petals, tears of sorrow quickly turned ones of laughter as Gogglebox favourites and veterans of love June and Leon took to the stage to read to one another and the eager audience – June’s choice being My Lover by Wendy Cope and Leon replying with Love Poem by John Frederick Nims. The local lovebirds – married for over 60 years – told us about the most ‘unromantic’ things they do for one another and shared some of their secrets of what makes such a long-lasting relationship.

The night was rounded off by none other than The Reader’s Founder and Director Jane Davis with plenty of words of love to set A Little, Aloud with Love out into the world. There was even an extra treat for a lucky crowd member thanks to a sumptous hamper donated by Delifonseca, all for buying a copy of the book on the night.

We’ll be celebrating the book in London later this year – another love-filled event for us to look forward to, and there’ll be further details to come right here on the A Little, Aloud blog in the coming weeks. There’s no need to wait to get your hands on a copy however, as they’re available to buy now, in stores and online.


The Big Dig is coming to Calderstones

Under my window a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

Digging, Seamus Heaney

Trees in Calderstones park c Dave Jones2015 has got off to an exciting start at Calderstones Mansion House with yet more shared reading groups and special events welcoming in the New Year, and its biggest project involving the community and unearthing the history of the area is yet to come…

As part of the ongoing ‘Connect at Calderstones’ project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Reader Organisation alongside National Museums Liverpool will be offering a number of heritage activities and events within Calderstones Park in the coming months. All of these special events are leading up to The Big Dig, a wide-scale community dig which will bring people closer to the park than they have ever been before.

The Big Dig will begin this April and visitors are welcome to join in the two-week digging period, exploring the park in the hope of unearthing some hidden treasures that could join the Neolithic Calder Stones already housed in the park – the earliest human monument in Merseyside. The project is especially exciting as it will be the first time Calderstones is open to public access for historical excavations.

Richard MacDonald, Heritage Stories Maker at The Reader Organisation is looking forward to The Big Dig getting underway:

“The Calderstones are of national importance and this dig is an exciting opportunity for people in the local area to get involved in a community dig and support The Reader’s plans for the future. As the park has never been built on there could be anything under our feet. We may even find evidence of the first humans to live in this area – relics of the earliest scousers!”

The Big Dig will take place between Monday 27th April and Friday 8th May and anyone from the community is welcome to pick up a spade and take part. You can follow the project more closely through the Big Dig blog, with regular progress updates posted in the running to the main event:

Before the digging begins, visitors to the Mansion House will have the opportunity to take part in a number of free preparatory events allowing them to learn more about excavation:

  • On Thursday 29th January, the Museum of Liverpool will be holding free tours through the prehistoric collection, including the chance to get your hands on some replica Calder Stones (times: 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm)
  • Get an insight into a day in the life of an archaeologist at Ready to get Digging on Thursday 19th February at Calderstones Mansion House from 2-4pm
  • Join Ron Cowell, Curator of Prehistory at Museum of Liverpool, for a talk about the Calder Stones themselves and Merseyside during the Stone Age on Thursday 5th March, 7pm at Calderstones Mansion House

All of these events are free to attend, and to avoid disappointment booking is advised. You can register your places on each by heading to or

If you’ve always fancied yourself as an Indiana Jones or Time Team explorer or perhaps are looking for a new hobby to embark on this New Year, this is the perfect chance to do some exploring right on your doorstep! Be sure to keep logged on to the Big Dig blog for more news in the coming months.

The Penny Readings 2014

The Reader Organisation’s most popular annual event is returning for its eleventh year and is already highly anticipated – and today we can announce the dates for when you’ll be able to get your hands on tickets to the Penny Readings 2014, which returns to St George’s Hall in Liverpool on Sunday 21st December.

Tickets will be released to the general public in the week commencing Monday 17th November. This year, tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, available both online, at Calderstones Mansion House and further distribution points to be announced at a later date.

Members of our shared reading groups will be able to apply for priority tickets two weeks before general release, on Monday 3rd November, and can apply through their group facilitators.

As ever, you’ll be able to apply for tickets to the family-friendly Ha’penny Readings in the afternoon as well as the evening event.

The Penny Readings have become a staple of the festive season in Liverpool, so make sure you pop the dates in your diary! Stay tuned for more information on what promises to be another spectacular show of reading, music and entertainment coming soon…

Penny Readings fest 1 online



‘Sigh no more’… Globe on Tour is returning to Calderstones Mansion House!

‘Wow! Now THAT is life!’… These were the words of an audience member who attended last year’s sell-out performance of King Lear by The Globe on Tour, when the garden theatre at Calderstones Mansion House was unveiled for the first time in thirty years.

After such a wonderful success, we are overjoyed at The Reader Organisation to announce that The Globe are returning to Calderstones this June, with one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies, Much Ado About Nothing, packed with memorable lines, and – I think – two of Shakespeare’s wittiest characters.

Much Ado tells the tale of two love stories, one – between Hero and Claudio – of romance, open declarations of love, and drama; the other – between Beatrice and Benedick – a battle of sharp-wit, denial and passion from the play’s two favourite comedic characters.

Played previously by stars such as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, Beatrice and Benedict are renowned for their sharp tongue, and adorable denial of love. With these characters, Shakespeare has undoubtedly inspired many famous literary couples such as Austen’s well-known couple, Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, Much Ado About Nothing comes with a host of lines and phrases, which remain present in our everyday lives… for example, the popular track Sigh no more, by Mumford and Sons, features a number of lines from Much Ado About Nothing.

Maintaining their prestigious reputation, The Globe on Tour wowed audiences last year with King Lear,

‘@The_Globe #Lear is exactly as touring Shakespeare should be. Snappy, high energy and inventive’.

With this in mind, we’re looking forward to a knock-out performance of Much Ado About Nothing and can’t wait to see what this year’s Benedick and Beatrice, played by Simon Bubb and Emma Pallant, have in store for us. And to top it all off, Calderstones Mansion House garden theatre is a truly perfect venue, as highlighted by an audience member last year, ‘The theatre garden really made it seem very personal.’

Much Ado  A3  SuperBlank

Performance Dates and Times:

Thursday 12th June, 7:30pm
Friday 13th June, 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Saturday 14th June, 2:30pm & 7:30pm

Ticket information:
Tickets are now on sale!

Price of tickets: £20

To purchase your tickets online, please visit: Shakespeare’s Globe website. There is a transaction fee of £2.50 for online bookings.

Please contact The Globe’s Box Office on 020 7401 9919 if you want to book for a Group; if you require access bookings; if you have children U18 or would like to use Theatre Tokens.
N.B. Concessions do not apply to Senior citizens for theatre performances. Discounts cannot be applied retrospectively.

Tickets will sell out, so book yours now to make sure you don’t miss out!

Shared reading group members and volunteers

The Reader Organisation has a limited number of £15 discounted tickets for shared reading group members and volunteers which can be obtained through your group leaders.

If you have any questions, please contact Abi:

Join the conversation for this upcoming tour on Twitter by using the hashtag #MuchAdo

Mansion Makeover: Paint and Plant Day at Calderstones

calderstones plantsThe Reader Organisation’s

Calderstones Mansion House, Liverpool L18 3JD
Saturday 15th February
, 10am-4pm

Calling any budding interior designers or horticultural whizzes, here’s an ideal opportunity to showcase your creative ideas and talent as well as helping out in the heart of the community…

On Saturday the 15th of February The Reader Organisation is inviting volunteers to come along and give some necessary love and attention to Calderstones Mansion House and allotment. We’re looking for willing painters, planters, decorators or diggers to help brighten some rooms with a lick of paint and get our allotment plot ready to grow. All volunteers will be fed with endless tea, coffee and biscuits, and a hearty, warming lunch.

If anyone has any equipment they could lend us, or even donate to the project, then please do get in touch or bring it along with you on the day.

For more information and to book your place, please contact Paddy Morrison on 0151 724 5000, or email

Help make Calderstones Mansion beautiful!

Shared Reading at Blackburne House

Before leaving The Reader Organisation last week, our most recent Market Research Intern Shauna Waterman went along to one of our long-running and regular shared reading groups at Blackburne House in Liverpool City Centre. Here she shares her experience of the group:

Blackburne House runs a weekly Get Into Reading group, where you’re surrounded by great company with a chance to read aloud and enjoy some great literature. I had the chance to get involved and see what they were reading.

books and tea reading circleBlackburne House is a successful and vibrant organisation that has grown from a centre of education for women therefore the group, run by volunteer Pat Otty, is a women’s only group. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, with tea, biscuits and even crackers with Philadelphia (I ate a lot of this). A small group at the moment, Pat explained that there are usually a few regulars that come and enjoy the literature. We started the group with a short poem called Somebody by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Pat pointed out that when we finished it we were all just smiling at the page trying to figure it out. As it was confusing at first we tried reading it again and this time had a lot to discuss and talked about how the poem wasn’t dated and how relevant it could still be today.

Somebody being a nobody,
Thinking to look like a somebody,
Said that he thought me a nobody: Good little somebody-nobody,
Had you not known me a somebody,
Would you have called me nobody?

-‘Somebody’ Alfred Lord Tennyson

This led us into the text that the group have been reading together, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. I’d never read the book before so Pat gave me the gist and told me it was set in the early 1900s and followed a man called Frank Owen who believes that the capitalist society he and his fellow workers are in is to cause of the poverty around them. It’s quite a large book and it has taken the group nearly a year to complete. With lots of political ideas throughout, the group stops often to discuss what they have just read. It was a very meaty book with lots to discuss. A part of it that stuck out for all of us was:

 “In order that the men employed shall not have to work unpleasantly hard, and that their hours of labour may be as short as possible—at first, say, eight hours per day—and also to make sure that the greatest possible quantity of everything shall be produced, these factories and farms will be equipped with the most up-to-date and efficient labour-saving machinery.”

– Extract from ‘The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell

We thought about how today “labour-saving machinery” is a big part of our everyday lives e.g. self- check-out machines. We had a discussion and a good moan about how much easier it is to go to someone on a till and how the machines will have taken people out of a job. We talked about how people now live such busy lives that we have become far too impatient to even wait in line for to pay for our weekly shop. As a society we rely so much on technology that we forget that it often replaces human to human contact. It’s interesting that what Tressell wrote so many years ago can still ring true today.

The Blackburne House Get Into Reading group (women only) meets every Monday, 11am-12:30pm. So, come along for a cup of tea, a biscuit and good company. Take a break and immerse yourself in a good book.

Blackburne House can be found on the east side of Hope Street, Liverpool City Centre. Click here to access an online map and click here for directions to Blackburne House from Liverpool Lime Street station.

For a full list of our open shared reading groups in Liverpool, see our website:

Impact48 and The Reader Organisation – 48 hours to get Liverpool reading

impact48_tightImpact48 and The Reader Organisation
6pm Friday 24th January – 6pm Sunday 26th January 2014
Calderstones Mansion House

Something big is happening at The Reader Organisation’s base at Calderstones Mansion House this January, as we join up with Impact48 to further the reading revolution.

2014 is Liverpool’s Year of Reading and as part of our partnership with Liverpool Council and Liverpool Learning Partnership we’re launching our City of Readers project which aims to get the whole city reading – through schools, through families, through businesses all sharing reading with one another. Over 48 hours we’ll be joining up with Impact48 to develop a website for Liverpool City of Readers, build apps and create a marketing campaign that will use social media to help promote the project.

Calderstones Mansion House c Dave JonesImpact48 events bring together a charity, a sponsor and a team of volunteers to spend a fun and challenging 48 hours making a positive impact to the organisation at its centre. Previous Impact48 events have worked with Music in Hospitals Scotland and Edinburgh Cyrenians, and we’re excited that they’ll be coming to Liverpool to spend a weekend at Calderstones, creating something big that will impact so many people.

48 hours will take a lot of motivation and people power to complete, so we’re looking for volunteers to get on board and be part of the weekend. Are you or do you know I.T and web specialists, software developers and app developers who could help us to realise our vision of city-wide reading using technology?

We’re also looking to kick start the City of Readers project and Liverpool’s Year of Reading by using the time to record 48 hours of reading and collect 4,800 books that can be used as part of the project. Anyone is welcome to come along, give us some time and some books, pop into the Mansion House for a chat, coffee and look around.

To register your interest to volunteer at the weekend at Calderstones Mansion House, head over to the Impact48 website.

You can also follow Impact48 on Twitter: @RealImpact48 and #impact48