Now read on;National Year of Reading update

26th February 1999 at 00:00
MARCH 19 - 28


Flagged as the world's largest and most ambitious celebration of the written and spoken word, this festival, which will become an annual event, has mustered more than 60 world-class writers, including Hanif Kureishi, Doris Lessing, Benjamin Zephaniah and Richard Dawkins, to work with the 33 boroughs. Writers will participate in local events in libraries, schools and other venues.

Among the major events will be a British Library exhibition of the manuscripts and artefacts of the participating writers.

There will be an A-level poetry day (March 22) at Westminster Centre Hall with readings and question times (poets include Craig Raine and Linton Kwesi Johnson) and an A-level Literature Day (March 23) at the same venue to be attended by, among others, Martin Amis and Germaine Greer. The Tate Gallery education depoartment has events on visual literacy and book art on the same days.

A GCSE Poetry Conference will be held on March 25, with Carol Ann Duffy and John Agard. For further information on these and other educational conferences telephone 0800 600 6262.

Also being organised is a "write-a-thon" in which stories will be passed around primary schools (for further information telephone 0181 691 3277, ext. 159).

More details are in a brochure available from all London libraries, and major bookshops and will be published in Time Out on March 3. Tel: 0171 837 2555, or visit website: SPORTING READS

The National Year of Reading theme for March is Sporting Reads, and sports teams throughout the UK will be working with schools. London Leopards basketball players, who are visiting Lewisham and Greenwich primary schools to contribute to school assemblies. They will also launch a competition in which children have to produce a literacy project following the study of a basketball book in class. Prizes will be given at a London Leopards' match.

Six libraries in Newcastle have joined with the Eagles basketball team to give discount vouchers for a basketball match to children who then have to produce a match report. Six winners will be treated to a VIP night out with the team.

Other teams taking part include Gloucester Rugby club which is running projects with local schools on the theme Rugby and Reading; Manchester Storm ice-hockey players who are featured in a city-wide poster campaign to promote reading and Plymouth Argyle Football Club which is taking part in book-sharing sessions in schools and libraries.

(Feature, Friday, page 8) MARCH 8


On Commonwealth Day the Commonwealth Institute is launching an Internet Poetry Reading project. Poets Jeremy Cronin, Olive Senior, Suniti Namjoshi and Gillian Hanscombe will be posting new poems on the Internet and for the next two months anyone will be able to e-mail them with questions, thoughts, ideas and comments. All the poets have promised to reply promptly.

For more information visit: Commonwealth Institute, Kensington High Street, London W8 6NQ. Tel: 0171 603 4535.



Twenty schools have pooled resources to launch a colourful booklet, poster and flyer, all extolling the benefits of books to young children, on March 18. It will be distributed to parents in Pontefract and Wakefield. In June the 20 schools will arrange a fortnight of events with schools sharing visits from authors - names yet to be confirmed. Further information from HS Armitage, Ackworth Howards School, Station Road, Low Ackworth, Pontefract, West Yorkshire WFF 7HH. Tel: 01977 722275.

MARCH 26-28


Headliners at the Holiday Inn in Leicester, will include children's writers Allan Ahlberg, Phillip Pullman, Morris Gleiztman and illustrators Ian Beck and Nick Sharratt. There will be a publishers' exhibition and bookshop. Costs are from pound;120 non-residential to pound;230 for weekend residential (day rates and reductions for members). Further information from FCBG central office: tel: 0113 257 9950.


The shortlists for the 1999 awards will be announced in The TES next week, with a full report on thewinners and judging in Friday magazine on March 12.

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