For some people, the world of literature can seem remote and forbidding. The Royal Society of Literature’s Outreach Programme seeks to change this.
RSL Fellows and Honorary Fellows – Daljit Nagra, Paul Muldoon and, newly elected in 2021, Emma Thompson, Kadija Sesay, Edmund de Waal, SF Said and Patrick Gale are being matched with Year 8/9 classes in UK state secondary schools. Each Fellow has selected a book that impacted their life when they were a young person, and copies are being sent out to every pupil in the class, supported by UK publishers.
Learn more about the project and watch the intro videos here.
We are grateful to Old Possum’s Practical Trust for supporting this programme.
Give A Book: Donate Books to Support Prison Libraries
The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the most vulnerable members of society particularly badly, perhaps none more than those in the UK’s prisons. With prisons visitations postponed indefinitely, most libraries closed, and no access to the internet, prisoners are now facing significant hardship with extremely limited contact with their networks of support.
Now more than ever, we hope that literature can provide a form of emotional support for those in difficulty. We are asking our community to help Give A Book provide prisons with donations of books to be distributed on the wings – particularly foreign language books, which are in very short supply. Click here to learn how you can support our campaign.
Write Across London: Workshops and Call for Poetry Submissions
In April 2020, the Museum of London put out an open call for submissions of both objects and first-hand experiences to reflect Londoners’ lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Collecting Covid project received a remarkable number of poems. The RSL is delighted to be working in partnership with the Museum of London to celebrate the power of poetry to bring people together, even in times of significant isolation.
We brought together pairs of poet ambassadors to inspire you to write your own pieces – watch them discuss their experiences in the videos here. Submissions are now closed but you can view the map and poems here.
Literature Matters: Fellows & Friends Writing Workshops and Top Tips
While it is not possible for authors to visit schools, we have commissioned special write-along video workshops, which bring together RSL Fellows and their friends to explore writing for pleasure. Take 10 minutes out of your day to get creative, either on your own or with a friend. So far, we have collaborations between Neil Gaiman and Yetide Badaki, Nikesh Shukla and Josie Long, and Inua Ellams and Gemma Cairney.
We are also pleased to share a series of Top Tips videos from RSL Fellows Damian Barr, Peter Frankopan, Salena Godden, Catherine Johnson, Deborah Moggach and Vinay Patel, who share their advice on writing.
Watch all the videos here.