Cheltenham Festivals and Book Aid International join forces to show the transformative power of reading in London Book Fair seminar

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Cheltenham Festivals and Book Aid International are delighted to announce they are hosting a joint seminar at London Book Fair 2019 to discuss practical ways of working together to overcome the barriers to reading that exist in disadvantaged communities. Sharing first-hand experiences, they will look at how reading promotion in all its forms, from literature festivals and prestigious book awards to school reading initiatives and library book clubs, can keep reading for pleasure on a nation’s agenda and give more people and communities access to the transformational power of books.

Gideon Commey, the Regional Youth Coordinator for Royal Commonwealth Society Africa will join the discussion chaired by Jake Hope, Chair of the Youth Libraries Group and children’s books consultant.

The seminar will take place on Thursday 14th March on 14:30 – 15:30 in the High Street Theatre at London Book Fair.

Book Aid International’s Head of Programmes Samantha Thomas-Chuula said:
“At Book Aid International, we see first-hand the difference that reading promotion can have on attitudes to reading. Parents encourage their children to read, children visit libraries more, students gain access to more exam materials and ultimately the hopes of whole communities can be increased through access to high quality resources. We are looking forward to working with Cheltenham Festivals to show London Book Fair audiences how they can use their positions to enable more people to access the power of the written word and change their lives for the better.”

Cheltenham Festivals’ Director of Education Ali Mawle said: “Breaking down barriers takes time, but at Cheltenham Festivals we are driven by the belief that culture should be available to everyone. We set great store in building relationships with local schools, particularly those that serve low income communities or are rurally isolated. Our flagship Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils project enables teachers and their pupils in 58 schools to rediscover the joy of reading. The number of participating schools has almost doubled since the project was launched just over two years ago.”

Gideon Commey said: “Books have shaped my thinking and transformed my life’s work. I believe every child everywhere deserves a chance to read books. They change life indeed! I’m very pleased to be involved in this important event.”

Jake Hope, Youth Libraries Group Chair said:
“I am delighted to chair this seminar – I feel passionately that it’s a subject that’s very timely and one that lies at the very heart of the origins of the public library system too.”

Visit London Book Fair for more information about the seminar.