Leicester literary festival takes the city by storm

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Danielle Alexandra Lett

A Leicester reading festival experienced a large turn out with famous authors and poets coming to the city.

Everybody’s Reading held its 5th annual event in various locations around the city from Saturday September 27 to Sunday October 5.

Festival co-ordinator Juliet Martin, 46, of School Development Support Agency, said: “It’s the first festival of its kind.

“We’ve held 163 events in over 50 venues with more than 6,000 people attended events.

“One of our biggest ones was a free event at the Curve with BBC Radio presenter and author Simon Mayo, where 700 children came.

“Children’s novelist Michael Rosen also drew in a large crowd, with over 200 children at Taylor Road Primary School.

“That’s what it’s about.”

The festival is funded by Leicester City Council, SDSA, Leicester libraries, National Union of Teachers and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.

“They made a pledge in 2009 to get every child in Leicester to develop a love of reading, which is how ‘Whatever it Takes’ was born. This initiative then helped fund Everybody’s Reading,” said Miss Martin.

“We mapped where there was no or little reading schemes. Schools in these areas needed support. In exchange for this support, we take data from the schools on the input literacy has had.”

The festival also aims to help those in the local community.

Miss Martin, said: “70% of the funding goes into community events, very little goes into the big events. It’s to help in those in their communities. That’s the essence of it.”

After this year’s success, planning for next year has already begun.

“We’re in talks with big publishing houses such as Penguin and Bloomberg to get big household names to come next year.

“Now we’re waiting for the board to meet in November where the funding will be agreed,” she said.

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