Sharing the Transformative Power of Reading for Pleasure in Disadvantaged Communities

Sharing the Transformative Power of Reading for Pleasure in Disadvantaged Communities

14 Mar 2019, 14:30 - 15:30

High Street Theatre

As people in the book industry, we deeply understand the potential books offer: whether introducing us to new ideas; igniting our imaginations; or improving our life chances. We need only look at the difference they have made in our own lives to know that we would not be who or where we are today without them.

Surely therefore books have the potential to have a far-reaching impact on people from disadvantaged communities. Yet it is a sad fact that across the UK and around the world these groups are least likely to read either out of choice or through lack of access.

In this session chaired by reading development consultant Jake Hope, Book Aid International, Cheltenham Festivals and the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Africa Regional Youth Coordinator Gideon Commey will discuss practical ways of working together to overcome the barriers to reading in disadvantaged communities. Sharing first-hand experiences, they will look at how reading promotion in all its forms from literature festivals and prestigious book awards to school reading initiatives and library book clubs, is vital to keep reading for pleasure on a nation’s agenda. They will illustrate how reading can have a transformational impact on the lives of individuals, their families and communities.


  • Jake Hope



    Youth Libraries Group

    Jake Hope is a reading development and book consultant. Growing up in a depressed seaside town in Lancashire, libraries were a salvation during...

  • Samantha Thomas-Chuula


    Head of Programmes

    Book Aid International

    As Head of Programmes, Samantha leads the development and management of Book Aid International’s book provision programme and the organisation’s...

  • Ali Mawle


    Director of Education

    Cheltenham Festivals

    Ali is one of the Directors of Cheltenham Festivals, the charity which produces the Jazz, Science, Music and Literature Festivals. She is strategic...

  • Gideon Commey


    Regional Youth Coordinator

    Royal Commonwealth Society Africa

    Gideon Commey is an Associate Fellow and the Africa Regional Youth Coordinator of the Royal Commonwealth Society, where he has been involved in...

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