Friday, 9 September 2011

Love Brighton! Love books!

I was an avid reader throughout childhood and immersed myself in many an adventure thanks to the turning of a page. Somehow work, family and Facebook ate into my reading time and finishing a book became a rarity.

In a bid to reclaim a link to literature, I joined a book club a few years ago (although I still sometimes fail to finish the books in time) and through my bibliophile friends I found out about City Reads.

City Reads is an annual city-wide project, revelling in the joy of reading and creating a shared experience for anyone wanting to take part.

Each year, the City Reads team chooses one book to be a focus of a month long series of events and reading outreach programmes. It’s a simple and brilliant idea. One book, one month, one community.

The chosen book for this year is The Long Song by Andrea Levy. During October, everyone in Brighton & Hove is urged to pick up a copy of the book and be part of City Reads 2011. The Long Song is written in the style of a memoir about life as a slave on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the turbulent 1830s.

Levy deals with the harrowing nature of slavery without preaching. The story is surprisingly tender, life affirming and even funny in places. At the same time, Levy doesn’t shy away from the trauma of her subject matter. I was moved to tears by some turns of the tale. I’m not going to summarise the book. Just find a copy and read it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

VisitBrighton supports the City Reads project and the team was proud to be invited to the launch event last night. The launch was held in The Old Market, a fabulous recently renovated venue in Hove. The Old Market is now a perfect space for cultural events and will be home to many of this year’s City Reads activities. Have a look at the Events Programme for more information.

Sarah Hutchings, City Reads Dierctor, at the launch event

The launch event brought together volunteers, sponsors, supporters and friends of the City Reads project in anticipation of the main events next month. As is proper for a celebration, there was cake. And what a cake! Emma Desbruslais and Dan Wilkinson of the The Rather Good Cake Company created a ginger sponge and sugar icing masterpiece which tasted as good as it looked.

Happy reading!


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