Award-winning community reading scheme City Reads is returning to Brighton, and this time there’s a new way of sharing books which is sure to catch the eye of even the most reluctant reader.
Book Swap Boxes will be springing up all across the city – a more fulfilling and sustainable method than in previous years, when organisers left books on benches and in cafés. The boxes were inspired by local crime writer William Shaw, who has a homemade book box outside his house and encourages people to take and share the literature.
City Reads has teamed up with Brighton Festival this year to enlist sponsors and funding, which has made the installation of several Book Swap Boxes possible. There will also be a scheme for bookworms at school, called Young City Reads.
The idea of the reading festival is that everyone in town reads the same book. A series of discussions, debates, workshops and performances ensue, meaning the book brings the community together. This year’s book is The Handsworth, the debut novel from British Asian author Sharon Duggal. Set in 1981, the captivating tale follows one family’s struggle in Thatcher’s fractured Britain.
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said: ‘We are delighted that City Reads and Young City Reads are part of Brighton Festival again this year – building on our strong relationship with Collected Works through other partnership projects such as Young City Reads and Adopt an Author. The importance of empathy and community is central to our Guest Director Kate Tempest’s vision for the Festival as a whole, making Sharon Duggal’s powerful debut particularly fitting as a choice for City Reads.”
Several copies of Duggal’s book will be placed in each box, along with books by bestselling crime authors William Shaw and Elly Griffiths. Visitors are encouraged to also leave books of their choosing in the boxes and share their love of the written word. The first box will appear at the Redwood Cafe on 3 March.
City Reads will run from 2 March to 24 May. For the festival’s full programme of events, click here.