Approaching its seventh year, ATownExploresABook is a unique literature event of national significance which maintains its embryonic local community roots. These are the heritage books we have explored so far:
2022: The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden – Marking the 50th anniversary of Godden’s Whitbread Prize-winning novel for young adults which told the story of a half-gypsy girl’s struggle to maintain her culture following the death of her great-grandmother.
2021: Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets by Edward Lear – We marked the 150th anniversary of Lear’s anthology containing the nation’s favourite children’s poem (poll of 2014) “The Owl And The Pussy Cat”
2020: The Time Machine by H G Wells – 125 years since the Henry Holt and William Heinemann publications in 1895, we explored its relevance to today’s world: how HG Wells’ vivid words speak to us in the context of our contemporary condition. It was an investigation long overdue and in the Covid crisis, took on new significance. We extended the festival from its planned 18 days to three months, offering online projects before the outdoor art could eventually be exhibited.
2019: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – the festival gained national recognition for the first time as we explored this classic text on the tricentenary of publication. The festival increased to its present eighteen days duration across the Easter school holiday and offered over 50 events and activities.
2018: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – our second year saw artists Emma Harding, Susan Miller and Peter Quinnell launching the outdoor art, which has become a much-loved part of the festival. Creative director Gail Borrow channelled energies into meeting the festival’s 4000 viewers and finding out from them how best to set out the festival across 20 sites going forward. And how to gather everyone’s thoughts, views and ideas.
2017: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Our inaugural year presented one big question: could a whole community come together for two weeks of lively extended contemplation of heritage writing? We chose celebrated British female writer Charlotte Brönte’s novel Jane Eyre and had a go. The results were incredible. We discovered that more than coming together, artists, viewers and community groups veritably bounced and bounded through extended exploration of Brontë’s words.
2018125 years since the Henry Holt and William Heinemann publications in 1895, we explored its relevance to today’s world: how H.G. Wells’ vivid words speak to us in the context of our contemporary condition.young adults