On Saturday 28th January 2023, I joined a packed room of people from all different age groups and diverse backgrounds at Liverpool Central Library to celebrate the launch of the Year of Reading with the Liverpool Literacy Cycle (LLC). “The aim of the Cycle is to elevate the importance and prominence of Reading, Writing and Speaking throughout the Liverpool City Region”, stated Ali Harwood, Co-ordinator, LLC.
There was a full programme of events with over forty people sharing their writing on stage through poetry, prose, storytelling, performances of children’s books by pupils from Childwall Valley Primary School and a special message from Lesley Martin-Wright, High Sheriff of Merseyside. Subjects ranged widely from the love of nature, the liver birds, raisins, addiction, school life, yoga with lambs, enchanted woods, the slave trade and why pets are not allowed on spaceships! It was encouraging to see how much talent there is within the Merseyside area and to hear so many different voices sharing their words.
In between performances, there were stallholders to visit including the National Literacy Trust, The Reader Organisation, Liverpool Learning Partnership, Shakespeare North Playhouse, Wirral Poetry Festival, Dead Good Poets Society and TAUK Publishing. All of them are working with local people to enable them to improve their literacy, give a platform for their creativity and provide enjoyment for anyone who hears and reads their work.
Jude Lennon, local author and one of the LLC team said, “We want all children and adults to have wonderful interactions with books. Books can open the pages of the world and spark hope, education, escapism and enjoyment.”
Central Library staff informed Ali Harwood, who was compering the event, that many people, young and old, had signed up for a library card for the first time during the event. This was a brilliant step towards improving literacy throughout the region and it was good to hear that the Year of Reading was already having an impact.
According to Councillor Barbara Murray who established the Liverpool Literacy Cycle, “This is a sustained effort to focus the attention of the city on the importance of literacy skills in life. As we enter 2023 Year of Reading we again embrace vocabulary, books and the activity of reading as a source of information, a learning tool and a creative gift for exploring imagination. This year we are aiming to embed the cycle by highlighting existing initiatives whilst also creating new innovative reading activities in collaboration with a well-developed partnership network.”
The team have an exciting schedule of events planned throughout the year which will all involve a focus on reading. After hearing the calibre of the creatives at the launch, I am looking forward to attending as many of them as possible.
Ali Harwood ended our chat by asking, “Please join us in our mission to celebrate reading across the region this year and follow us at @LivLitCycle on Twitter and Instagram, check out and use the hashtag #liverpoolreads”.