Last night, as part of my Christmas present (thanks Mum!), I was at Foyles Bookshop, London, as part of Quick Reads’ tenth birthday. They have recently published an anthology of short stories-including by Rowan Coleman and Matt Haig.
(Left to Right: Matt Haig, Rowan Coleman, Elizabeth Buchan, Fanny Blake, Veronica Henry, and Cathy Rentzenbrink.)
Sponsored by Galaxy, the chocolate giant, it was lovely to find a bar on our seats; chocolate and books! What more could you possibly want? But I digress..
This event was to celebrate the tenth birthday of Quick reads, a charity aiming to making reading less scary: if one in six struggle with reading, then it’s a good thing. It was founded, after a conference being attended, and the opinion voiced about the lack of resource to teach adult reading. How humiliating!
Quick Reads is a part of The Reading Agency, aiming for more impact.
A brief chat with each author followed, as well as a reading; maybe an abridged version, a cliffhanger. To condense the information, I thought I’d do it writer by writer, in order of which our host, Cathy, spoke:
Love Me Tender By Veronica Henry
The discussion began briefly, with the comparative analogy between food and reading. (I just had to check: does anyone else eat and read simultaneously? No? Just me then?) Cathy asked this to be written-with the short story being like “Canapes”, and “less intimidating”. Yet, to write a short story was described as being a “very satisfying medium”-a discipline, creative process, etc. The idea was pitched at a party. In case you haven’t guessed, the story relates to Elvis..
The Other Half By Fanny Blake
This short story was a tight spot to fill, due to someone dropping out. Having been completed quite brilliantly, Cathy admitted-jokingly-to that as having “took down my sympathy levels”. (Laughter of approval all around.) A good nugget of advice was also said: “Just write it as you would”. Take note, would be writers!
Moment Of Glory By Elizabeth Buchan
This was one of my favorite extracts that was read-being a history blogger. This was based around-partially-a true story told. It’s about an elderly women, looking back retrospectively a decade later, knowing that she was one of the first people to know it was D Day. (During the reading, I had shivers up my spine, though I couldn’t quite hear..)
Birthday Secrets By Rowan Coleman
There was a brief account of feeling “terribly marginalized” at school, from Rowan. (In my opinion, this is one of the best writers-good with a plot line, overcoming Dyslexia.) One teacher, however, understood, contributing to the “beginning of a long journey”, to accept the condition. This is based on meeting a lady at Smiths.
Sadly, I didn’t quite manage to capture any of what Matt Haig said-not enough for some accurate reportage, any way. I feel quite sad about that, having just read one of his books for the book club I attend. (Sorry for any unintentional bias!)
Quick Reads has put together this small book, as a way of de-stigmatizing reading; they wish to challenge the perception that it’s boring, or it’s not possible to have the time. With some of the wittiest, best writers in the business, I feel you’d be missing out if you didn’t take a look. You can buy it by clicking here. After a brief Q&A, and having my books signed, I came away feeling very happy.