We thought we ought to introduce ourselves…those of us on the organising committee for Literally 2013, first up is Joy Court, Learning Resources Manager at Schools Library Service, editor of Read to Suceed and National Coordinator: CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenway Medals.
“When Tracy McGeever – headteacher of St Osburg’s- approached me with her idea of having a book festival for Coventry I could not really say “No”. I had launched the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 7 years previously with the intention of inspiring “readers for life” and building a real community of readers of all ages. A book festival seemed like a natural progression of this idea. We already had a high profile event in our Book Awards ceremony in June and with more and more top authors wanting to come to the ceremony to collect their awards in person as our reputation has grown.What could be simpler than asking them to do events around the ceremony and “Hey Presto!” you have a festival!
But it was a real mad roller coaster of activity to get our first Coventry Book Festival up and running in such a short space of time. Ideally we would have had a longer lead in time, but 2012 was such a big year for Coventry with the Olympics that we had to maximize the publicity for our city. There was a wonderful community spirit displayed by schools willing to host events and donate some precious funds, by local authors and poets who want to celebrate Coventry’s literary heritage and by publishers who are beginning to recognise Coventry as a reading city and are sending us some of their star authors.
We are very proud of the exciting and FREE programme we managed to put together with something for everyone. Inspirational authors, magical storytelling, creative workshops, drama, films, reading picnics, quizzes, challenges and The Fonz! Literally….a brilliant week for schools and all the family. It was really important to us that these sort of events came to Coventry to widen access to the sort of audiences that cannot go to Hay, Cheltenham or Edinburgh but who need this sort of stimulus just as much.
I believe there is nothing more important to your life chances than being literate and if we can inspire just 1 child with the love of reading then that child’s life chances will be so much enhanced that it will be worth all the effort.”