Bookshops in the UK and Ireland urged to apply for grants to “Get Children Reading”
Bestselling author and bookshop devotee, James Patterson, is to donate £250,000 to independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland in an unprecedented show of financial support by an individual for the sector.
The announcement, made on the eve of Independent Booksellers Week (28 June-5 July), follows Patterson’s pledge to donate $1m to US bookshops last September. Donations in the US have so far helped to fund everything from customising a school bus as a mobile bookshop to providing free books for underprivileged children.
Any independent bookshop with a dedicated children’s book section is eligible for a grant of between £250 and £5,000. Awards will be made on the basis of the strength and innovatory nature of the proposal submitted. Patterson is particularly interested in funding schemes that will encourage children to read.
James Patterson says:
“Far too many children are in danger of living their lives without books. This runs the risk of living in a world run by the shortsighted, by the empathy-challenged, and by the glib. Bookshops are the most viable bulwark against this and I need to be part of the fight to ensure their survival. In the US, I have worked to identify independent bookshops for whom this money may make a difference, and bookshops that were already doing good work. I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received over the last year. I can’t wait to get started and see what the UK and Ireland’s incredible and pioneering bookshops propose. ”
Tim Godfray, The Booksellers Association, says: “What a fantastic way to celebrate the start of this year’s Independent Booksellers Week. This is good news for bookshops and anyone who loves reading. We are delighted that James Patterson is acting on his love of bookshops and his appreciation of their vital importance to cultural and community life. His generous donation will give our bookshops a chance to create new programmes, try out new ideas, and use their creativity to encourage children to read. I know our members will relish the opportunity!”.
Eligible bookshops will be sent a grant application form by the BA, which they should complete and return to firstname.lastname@example.org
The names of the first bookshops to have made successful bids will be announced in September 2014, as part of the Autumn’s Books Are My Bag campaign.