The Reading Agency is hosting a day of virtual celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of its short books selection Quick Reads, alongside a branding refresh for its adult literacy programme.
On 27th May, the festivities will begin at 2 p.m. with the Quick Reads Lecture at Hay Festival, featuring the charity's ambassador Jojo Moyes in conversation with author Oyinkan Braithwaite. Braithwaite's book, The Baby is Mine (Atlantic Books), is one of the titles published as a Quick Read this year. The two authors will discuss the importance of reading, how it changed their lives and how reading has the power to benefit the nation.
The celebrations will continue at 6 p.m. with an event curated hosted by Reading Agency c.e.o. Karen Napier, showcasing the impact of the adult literacy crisis. Launching the evening will be five of this year’s authors – Louise Candlish, Khurrum Rahman, Peter James, Katie Fforde and Oyinkan Braithwaite – chaired in conversation by Quick Reads commissioning editor Fanny Blake.
This will be followed by a panel of librarians and adult literacy practitioners sharing their experience of short books. Joining the panel is James Avison, Librarian at Tameside Libraries; Clare Canavan, Librarian at HMP Downview; Baljinder Bains, Librarian at Burton & South Derbyshire College; and David Reynolds, Quick Reads literacy editor and adult literacy teacher. The panel will be chaired by Reading Ahead ambassador Bali Rai. Tickets are free and can be booked via Eventbrite.
A reader survey examining Quick Reads showed one third of respondents said that reading their Quick Read made them want to talk to others more about books and reading. The full evaluation report of the 2020 Quick Reads programme will be published on The Reading Agency website next week.
The agency will also launch a new "buy one, gift one" campaign, which will see every book bought through to 31st July matched with a donated copy the agency will distribute.
The Reading Agency has also revealed new streamlined branding for the Quick Reads programme, designed by illustrator Soofiya, which will be rolled out across the website, social media and in retailers on publication. Downloadable posters and digital assets will be made available for libraries and independent bookshops.
Napier said: “The impact from last year demonstrates the instrumental role that Quick Reads plays in encouraging adults to discover the joys of reading and to build long-lasting engagement. Sharing the proven power of reading with as many as people as possible is at the heart of what we do at The Reading Agency and we are thrilled that in Quick Reads' 15th anniversary year, these life-changing and brilliant books will be available in more bookshops, libraries, prisons, colleges and adult learning centres than ever before. We are incredibly grateful to our publishing partners and extraordinary authors, and are looking forward to celebrating the 2021 launch at Hay Festival with the incomparable and inspiring Quick Reads ambassador Jojo Moyes.”