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Norfolk set to celebrate the novel as part of national BBC festival

05 November 2019

Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service is set to join a national BBC programme of library activities and events to celebrate the novel and promote the joy of reading, early in the new year.

The Novels That Shaped Our World festival is a year-long multi-platform engagement collaboration which will mark 300 years since the birth of the English language novel. The festival will be led by Libraries Connected and funded by a £253,000 grant from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme, with additional support from BBC Arts. Norfolk Library Service is thrilled to have been successful in a bid for £7,000 to deliver the programme.

Norfolk’s theme for the project will be ‘Coming of Age – finding your way in the world and growing up’ and will aim to improve reading skills across communities that have poor literacy, targeting specific groups including children and adults who are new to reading or need extra help.

The programme will tie into the Norfolk Reading Pathway, a free service which runs in all libraries and which is open to any adult who would like support to become a more confident reader.

The Reading Pathway is free to sign up to and learners are matched with a volunteer coach for weekly sessions for up to an hour, working through a handbook specially designed for new readers.

The library service is now busy planning a timetable of activity to celebrate The Novels That Shaped Our World. As part of this people in Norfolk will be asked to nominate their favourite coming of age novel, and the Library Service will collect these individual ‘rites of passage’ stories, curating the top novels polled into a collection that will sit alongside the BBC’s national list which is announced by a celebrity panel on tonight’s BBC One Show and BBC Radio 2 Book Club.

The panel will include journalist and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, bestselling author, screenwriter and columnist Juno Dawson, Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam, author Kit de Waal, journalist and editor of The Times Literary Supplement Stig Abell and author Alexander McCall Smith.

On 8 November the six panellists will take part in a live discussion session at the British Library, which will be live streamed at Norwich’s Millennium Library between 1pm and 2.15pm. People can book for free via the Eventbrite website.

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