Bringing books to the people: why we’re feeling Victorious in Portsmouth

literacy live

Esther Harris is an Editor and PR with Bookollective.

Humour me. Let’s play word association just for a second. Books. What springs to mind for you? Someone intellectual-looking, casually reading with a furrowed brow as they turn over the latest high-brow literary themes in their mind? Library. Shush! Be quiet. This is a place for the serious reader. No sniggering at the back there. A bookworm. A studious person who is so deeply involved in stories, that they literally burrow into a book never to be seen again…

Lots of us tend to have these silly ideas in our heads but actually let’s put them aside, as they don’t match the reality of the world of books – who buys them, who reads them, who writes them – at all. Books come in all shapes, smells and sizes. They are bought in all manner of shops and at all prices. Some readers wouldn’t be caught dead browsing in W H Smith; for others it’s a stalwart where they pick up their favourite reads. Other readers can’t stand Waterstones; some refuse to shop anywhere else. Books are consumed in different ways too; one big juicy bite, a long, slow, luxurious read, audio, paperback, Kindle. Every reader, no matter how different, is equally part of the book conversation and part of the book world. If you’re enjoying any kind of story you should expect the world of books to put its arms around you.

Portsmouth. Home city of two-thirds of team Bookollective. It has one of the lowest literacy rates among children in the country and the City Council is working hard to do something about it. It’s certainly no Hay-on-Wye. But actually that’s the whole point of our event this weekend. Literacy Live, taking place as part of Victorious Festival, aims to be an entry point into books for ANYONE who is interested. Children, adults, teens, if you’re into literary, true crime, history, romance, sport… there’ll be something for everyone, an author reading for you, a free book for you. We don’t care if you hate lattes, loathe Wuthering Heights and have never stepped foot in a university in your life. We don’t care if you only ever download audio and don’t own any paper books. If you like stories, come along anyway. Meet authors, talk to people and tell us about what you are into. Books are for everyone. That’s why we’re going to level the playing field… in a field in Hampshire this weekend!

Literacy Live is run by Bookollective this weekend at

Saturday line-up:

Sunday line-up: