Time to Read Blog

Applications are now open to join the INN CROWD

Posted Saturday 7 September 2019 by Sue Lawson

Applications are now open to join the INN CROWD and perform live literature in pubs and community spaces!

INN CROWD is a programme of high quality live literature performances touring to rural pubs across the UK from 2019-2022. It helps reinforce pubs as central to rural community life by bringing exceptional cultural experiences to new audiences.

INN CROWD offers funding, bookings, development support, and publicity to support brilliant live literature artists. Shows, sets or performances may include elements of theatre, poetry, spoken word, storytelling, literary adaptation, comedy, live art and audience participation … but the starting point for performances must be written or composed text.

Applications are now open to join the INN CROWD and perform in front of exciting new audiences. Deadline: 5pm, Monday 23 September 2019. 

Booker Shortlist announced

Posted Tuesday 3 September 2019 by Sue Lawson in Latest Libraries News

The shortlist has been announced for the 2019 £50,000 Booker Prize, which is supported by the charitable foundation Crankstart. The winner will be named on October 14. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

The Testaments Cover of Ducks, Newburyport An Orchestra of Minorities

Quichotte 10 Minutes in 38 Seconds in this Strange World Girl, Woman, Other

Are you looking for a reading challenge. Try reading the Booker 2019 longlist. Books available to reserve or borrow from a library near you!

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
Max Porter (UK), Lanny (Faber & Faber)
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)

Awards: Booker Shortlist

Eloise Unerman reviews Dumplin' by Julie Murphy.

Posted Friday 30 August 2019 by Writing Squad in Writing Squad Reviews

Dumplin book cover

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a young adult book about Willowdean Dickson, a self-proclaimed fat girl from Clover City, Texas. She’s always been at home in her own skin and her idea of having the ultimate bikini body is just putting a bikini on your body.

When new love leaves her doubting herself, she enters her local beauty pageant in an effort to take it back. The world of Dumplin’ is very important to me – both it and its sequel Puddin’ are sat on my shelves right now. I was hesitant to start reading at first. I had this fragile idea of who this girl should be and I was afraid that turning the page would ruin her. But I didn’t need to be.

I felt all the highs of Willowdean’s love life and all the lows of her relationship with her mum. But what struck me the most was something incredibly personal. She wasn’t the first plus size character I’d ever seen in a book or even the first well written one. But Murphy had perfectly pinpointed all the thoughts about being fat that I’d never spoken of, never read. And I think that’s what made Willowdean feel all the more real to me. She came along at a time when I was trying my best to have the same attitude towards my body as she did to her own. And, in an odd way, I was more than a little bit proud of her for accomplishing that.

Although Dumplin’ is a book about a girl in high school, I don’t think you need to be that age to enjoy her journey. I’d recommend this captivating book to anyone but especially those who have, at some point, felt uncomfortable in their own skin or had the sudden desire to enter a beauty pageant.

Inspired by Eloise's review? You can reserve Dumplin' from your library online for free. Or download the ebook or audiobook from your library or have a good ole Dumplin' party and watch the new film on Netflix! 


This month's Writing Squad guest reviewer is Eloise Unerman. Eloise is based in South Yorkshire and writes poetry and short stories, plus she runs poetry workshops for adults and young people.

She was awarded the Cuckoo Young Writers Award 2017 in the Northern Writers Awards and was Young Poet in Residence at 2018’s Ledbury Poetry Festival.

She is currently Barnsley’s Poet Laureate. When not writing, you can find her learning ballet and modern dance, sketching or adding to her scarf collection.  You'll also find Eloise on Twitter @inkandamaranth

Discover The Writing Squad - creating the next generation of young writers in the north.

Joseph Coehlo's Library Marathon

Posted Friday 30 August 2019 by Guest blog writer in Latest Libraries News

Poet and author Joseph Coelho called in to Blackburn Central Library this week, as part of his national Library Marathon. On Saturday 24 August he joined the library, chatted to staff, and donated two books. Plus he posed for a photograph with the library’s other special guest Marshall the puppy, part of the Brickburn Paw Patrol trail around the town centre!

As part of his Library Marathon Joseph is physically visiting a library in each authority to join and receive his library card. He’s plotting his progress on a giant library marathon map on his website, tweeting and blogging his journey around the UK.

Joseph has long been a passionate and vociferous supporter of libraries in the UK. His debut picture book, Luna Loves Library Day, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers and published by Andersen Press, celebrates his love for libraries and his own childhood spent in libraries. 

The Library Marathon is undertaken with the support of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals) and Libraries Connected. 
North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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