Read Regional in Northumberland Libraries got off to a great start on World Book Day (Thursday 2 March) with an amazing evening featuring Afghan political refugee Gulwali Passarlay, author of The Lightless Sky.

We were excited to be trying a new collaborative format, bringing the event out of the library and into Forum Cinema Hexham. We worked with partners Tamsin Beevor of Forum, Susie Troup of Hexham Book Festival and Claire Grint of Cogito Books; the joint publicity resulted in a fantastic audience of over one hundred, definitely setting a record for Read Regional in Northumberland. Our Reading Hack programme offered free tickets to sixth-formers from our local high school, and the age-range attending was refreshingly wide.

The evening consisted of a showing of the film He Named me Malala, followed by a thought-provoking and moving talk from Gulwali. There was also a chance to browse the library display of Read Regional titles, buy the book from the Cogito stall, and enjoy a glass of wine or juice. The long queue for book signings after the talk was testament to the deep effect Gulwali had on all those who heard him speak.

We got lots of great comments, including:
‘Stunning, both film and talk’ and
‘Loved it; great idea to have the film then talk’

We’re now looking forward to more joint events in the future, as the film/author talk format proved to be such a winning combination.

Jenny Kinnear – Senior Librarian: Children and Young People (Job-Share) Northumberland Libraries

Twitter: @NlandLibs

Read Regional