Introducing Literally’s Ian Collins

Introducing Ian Collins, English teacher at Sidney Stringer, Coventry

I have had in the past the pleasure to accompany students from Sidney Stringer to several Book Award ceremonies. As a keen reader and long-serving English teacher, the combination of the chance to hear established writers speak, and be with students enthuse about books and reading, meant the events were always something to look forward to.

In 2010 Sidney Stringer moved into beautiful new buildings. The Principal was (and is) determined the school should be a hub for community activitie,s so when we heard the Coventry Literally Festival was looking for venues, we were delighted to offer our facilities.

Last year’s events were very successful and I hope the quality and location of Stringer as a venue played its part.

We look forward to being involved in delivering a dynamic and popular reading festival to the people of Coventry and surrounding district again this year – and into the future.




Introducing Literally’s Sian Smith

Meet Sian, Retired Head, mother of an Author & Illustrator and book lover…

Tracey McGeever asked me to join the team as I had recently retired from Headship and she felt I would have time to spare! I loved the idea of Coventry’s own book festival so I agreed – and that’s when I stopped having any ‘time’ and for the next six months life became a frantic round of meetings, funding discussions / issues as well as the fun part of reading lots of books by the authors and illustrators that had been invited- not that I ever need an excuse to read!

So why did I really agree to get involved? Well I love reading, story telling, theatre, and book shops. I come from a family of readers and storytellers.

My Welsh English teacher, writer father introduced me to many and varied stories, authors and poets and my Irish mother could spin a great yarn and tell endless stories from her childhood. If you have ever been at a Irish family gathering, you will know exactly what I mean!

As an only child, many happy hours were spent ‘escaping ‘ to different places with different people and I envied the ability to write .

Teaching was the best job to allow me to indulge a passion for children’s books – I love them! I love the illustrations, the silliness of many of the stories and mostly I love the way books and stories can light up a child’s world and offer opportunities  to escape into another world, to learn about the world, who they are and who they aspire to be. I’m so lucky and proud now to be able to enjoy, understand and experience the process of creating books though a talented family member who writes and illustrates.

Literally…. gave us the opportunity to give many young and not so young in this city the chance to experience the talents of many authors and illustrators (and the committee loved those opportunities too!) I’ve worked with new people, made new friends and laughed!

Last year was hard work, we had sleepless nights and we hardly stopped to breathe during Festival Week but it was an amazing experience and so here we are again  ….. Meeting, worries, no time BUT… It’s exciting, inspiring and actually I can’t wait for June to do it all again!

Introducing Literally’s Tracy Lynch

As a fulltime working mum of two great teenage girls, like most people I went to and from work each day, and although I always saw myself as community spirited. I never looked at what was really happening on my doorstep. Take it from me – it is worth looking!

My previous role before being seconded as a Business Connector was as the Retail Support manager for Greggs. In the 18yrs I have worked for Greggs I have moved from a 16hr shop girl, through the ranks to be part of the senior retail management team. In all the years I have worked for Greggs I have always been involved in their charity and community work, but this secondment has opened my eyes, and my mind to how relatively easy and how much more businesses can do to help.

In May 2012 I took up the role of Business Connector in Coventry for 12 months.  Coventry has lots of great people doing lots of great things, to encourage enterprise, enhance education, create great communities and inspire the youth. What they all need is more funding but that doesn’t always mean money.

With a city full of businesses ranging from banking to engineering and everything in between, we should have all the resources we need to help keep these projects going and then benefit from their success.

I came across Coventry Literally within my first month on secondment and was blown away by its concept and the commitment of the team.

I have now become involved and hope to be able to get business support and also to open up some unusual venues for this year’s event.