Small Island Read 2007

Small Island Read 2007 was the biggest mass-reading initiative that has ever taken place in Britain. It ran from 11 January to 31 March 2007. It brought together the pre-existing annual reading projects The Great Reading Adventure (Bristol and the South West) and Liverpool Reads, and partners from Aye Write! Bank of Scotland Book Festival in Glasgow and Hull Libraries.

Everyone in the areas covered by the project was encouraged to read Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel Small Island.

2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the passing of the Slave Trade Abolition Bill and Small Island Read 2007 was part of a wider national initiative commemorating the ending of the trade and exploring slavery’s continuing influence upon multicultural Britain. The novel Small Island was chosen not only because it is an entertaining and enjoyable read but also because it provides an insight into the initial post-war contact between Jamaican migrants, descendants of enslaved Africans, and the white ‘Mother Country’.

Thousands of copies of Small Island were available for loan from branches of libraries in the participating local authorities (see Libraries above). Some free copies of the book and its accompanying readers’ guide could also be obtained while stocks lasted from selected sites.

Books for younger and emergent readers that address similar themes were also used as part of the project (see Education for details).

On this website you can download a copy of the readers’ guide which will tell you about Andrea Levy and her work, the slave trade and post-war migration. Further background information can be found by following the links in the side bar. In addition, this site provides calendars of events and news of all the activities that took place as part of Small Island Read 2007, as well as downloadable copies of the education material that has been produced.