I’m delighted to announce that we’ve received a grant of £93,000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Trust to help us “explore how new media can be used to generate active reading, creative writing and fresh enthusiasm for literature amongst young people”. In collaboration with teachers and writers, we’ll be creating a library of materials for schools made in CommentPress and Sophie, running workshops and building on the success of our recent project FOUND, funded by Booktrust. Actor and writer Toby Jones (currently playing Karl Rove in Oliver Stone’s W), worked with me and a class of twelve year olds in inner city Birmingham who found themselves immersed in the story of a lost child whose personality was, unbeknownst to them, being created by themselves. You can read a full account on the bookfutures blog which if:book london is developing for its projects and work with literature organisations in the UK.
Beginning today, i’ll be spending at least ten days per month in London where i’ll be a senior fellow at the London School of Economics and also joining our new colleague, Chris Meade, with the intention of establishing a London base for the institute. Until recently Chris was the director of Booktrust, an organization which among other things gives a package of books to all children born in Britain at the time of their birth and when they start primary school. A year ago Chris signed up for the pioneering Creative Writing & New Media masters program at DeMontfort University and decided to make the leap into the future. He’s landed here with us and will be the co-director of the institute, based in London.