A new library campaign is launching that, for the first time ever, will see 22 public library authorities joining forces to promote one book across the whole North West region.
Designed to boost awareness of great writers from, and books about, the area, Sharon Bolton’s The Craftsman was selected to be the focus of the November's campaign and first ever Great North West Read. Extra copies of the book - a tense thriller about a young female police constable investigating murder in 1970s Lancashire - will be made available to the 340 libraries in an area stretching from Carlisle to Chester and the Wirral to Rochdale, covering all of Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
Bolton herself will be visiting libraries to talk about her book while readers will be encouraged to go on to social media to discuss using the hashtag #GNWR. There will also be a free reading group guide.
Other authors have been named on a 'Great North West Reads' reading list, including Beth Underdown, author of the The Witch-finders Sister, Sarah Haywood, whose debut The Cactus is a Richard and Judy bookclub pick, and Hugh Thomson, who travelled through the region in One Man and a Mule. All of the 340 libraries in the region will be asked to put up a 'Great North West Read' display, with an award given to the best one.
The project is part of the work of Time To Read, a partnership of 22 library authorities in the North West working together to promote reading, in collaboration with Orion Books.
Ian Anstice, who leads Time to Read, said: "Although there have been 'City Reads' before in the UK, this is the library promotion that covers such a wide area and it’s hoped that it will get people talking about what can otherwise be quite a solitary activity. On a more personal level, I was blown away by how good The Craftsman is. This book sucked me in and introduced me to a whole new range of books to read. I hope that others also give the book, and others on the GNWR booklists, a go and discover the same."
Bolton said: "Libraries in the North West played a huge part in my love of stories as I was growing up, and I couldn't be more pleased that The Craftsman has been selected as the first Great North West Read."
Marking the beginning of a new trilogy, last month The Craftsman was optioned by Sid Gentle Films, the outfit behind the "Killing Eve".