Now We Are Ten: Making Literature Part of The Fabric of Life
On Saturday 5th January 2008 – in the very early days of Liverpool’s transformational European Capital of Culture year – poet and author, Blake Morrison, penned a piece for the Guardian exploring the idea of ‘The Reading Cure’.
The article took a look at ‘literature’s power to heal and console’ and included several accounts of ‘unusual’ book groups taking place across Merseyside in settings such as care homes, homeless shelters, libraries, acute psychiatric wards and day centres.
Led by Dr Jane Davis, Director of The Reader, an outreach unit at the University of Liverpool, a project called ‘Get Into Reading’ was credited as the force behind this pioneering work. Later that year, The Reader would become the first Arts Faculty spin-out from the University, setting up as a charitable social enterprise aiming to build new markets for English Literature, putting great books into the hands of people who need them.
Ten years on from the publication of Blake Morrison’s article, Jane Davis now looks back on ‘The Reading Cure’ as a defining moment in the life of The Reader, which has since evolved to become a national charity that helps people across the UK – and indeed the wider world – build social connections and stronger communities, rooted in the richness of literature and shared human experience.
As 2018 marks a decade since European Capital of Culture and The Reader’s tenth anniversary as an independent charity, Jane joins Blake in conversation at this special event to discuss the growing movement that ‘The Reading Cure’ helped to spark, and the role of literature in creating a healthy, well connected society.