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This is a guest blog from Liz Holme FRSA who, along with her team of literacy enthusiasts, is trying to reignite Britain's love of reading.

Banbury Literary LiveAccording to the National Literacy Trust, a fifth of young people say that they rarely or never read outside class.  There is overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship to people's life chances. A person with poor literacy is more likely to live in a non-working household, live in overcrowded housing and is less likely to vote.  Literacy skills and a love of reading can break this vicious cycle of deprivation and disadvantage.

The aim of our Fellow-led group is to increase reading for pleasure and literacy levels, amongst the young people of Banbury.

It should not be down only to teachers to achieve this.  An enthusiasm for literature can be kindled not just by schools but with the help of whole communities that they serve.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” Nelson Mandela

Banbury Literary Live

Banbury Literary Live is a community and family literary event. It returns for its second year on 4 and 5 October 2014 and is aiming to build on last year’s success.

What makes it special is its inclusiveness, and its aim to "ignite a passion for literature" amongst the whole community, particularly those who would probably not consider attending a traditional literature festival.  Our involvement with local schools ensures that local children will attend, and will bring along their families. We are delighted that even more schools have been keen to benefit this year, including North Oxfordshire Academy (who very kindly host the event), Bloxham School, Hanwell Fields Community School, Banbury and Bicester College and Tudor Hall.

We have focused our efforts (as we did last year) on fun and accessibility. Writers have been invited who will appeal to all ages, to ensure that BLL is a family event and that we attract families, not only a traditional literary festival audience.  If families enjoy literature together a habit of reading is much more likely to be formed.

The event will include:


  • Sessions with authors, including those writing for adults, teenagers and children, to encourage participation from all ages


  • Workshops on writing and on character illustration - to inspire budding writers and artists


  • The emphasis will be very firmly on the word 'live':  performance poets, theatre, cookery demonstrations, music and dance, including performances from local schools


Our speakers

We are touched and delighted that some fantastic writers have already committed to the project, including playwright and performance poet Joseph Coelho who has kindly agreed to donate 5 signed copies of his poem If all the world were paper as a reward for the crowdfunding campaign. We have a host of other authors also contributing to the festival, catering to all age groups, with their details listed on the page.

We need you!

Banbury Literary Live is proud to be featured on the RSA curated area on Kickstarter. Find out more and support our project.

The RSA Kickstarter page selects the best new ideas to help tackle social problems that its 27,000 Fellows are looking to deliver. See more RSA-backed projects and find out more about the RSA.

To get help from RSA Catalyst for your social venture through grants, expertise and crowdfunding visit our Project support page.




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