Cole and Gaiman in Reading Agency ventures

Cole and Gaiman in Reading Agency ventures

Author Neil Gaiman is to give The Reading Agency's second annual lecture on reading and libraries. Meanwhile crime star Martina Cole is to be an ambassador for the charity's adult reading challenge.

Gaiman, a vocal supporter of libraries, will deliver the lecture at the Barbican Centre in London on 14th October. Last year's talk, which marked The Reading Agency's 10th anniversary, was given by Jeanette Winterson.

The aim of the lecture is to allow writers and thinkers to share original and challenging ideas about libraries, and the creation of a modern reading culture. Gaiman will focus on the future of libraries and young people, while the audience will include members of government, library staff, publishers, educators and authors.

Miranda McKearney, the director of the charity, said: "It’s completely brilliant that Neil has agreed to deliver the second Reading Agency Lecture. It will undoubtedly be cutting edge, and consolidate what we believe is an important event in the annual cultural calendar for libraries and reading."

Meanwhile Martina Cole is to be the champion of the Reading Agency's 2014 Six Book Challenge, a scheme which encourages adults to read for pleasure and build their reading confidence.

The scheme has been running for six years, with 35,000 taking part last year through libraries, colleges, prisons and workplaces.Government figures show that 5.1m working age people in England have literacy levels below that expected of an 11-year-old.

Cole said: "I really wanted to become an ambassador for The Reading Agency because reading is such a big part of my life. The wonderful thing about the Six Book Challenge is that people who don't normally read, or who think that reading isn't their bag, are encouraged to pick up a book. When you read a book you have to picture it all in your own mind. No one tells you what you're seeing or what you should be feeling. That's the secret of reading—it's such a personal thing."