The Word's the Thing

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What is The Word’s the Thing?

One part of Birmingham’s contribution to the 2008 National Year of Reading is to encourage large numbers of people to read similar things through the use of email. It then becomes much easier for them to have some ‘reading in common’ to talk about…..to be part of a unique set of conversations across the city and beyond.

A number of new poems and very short fictional ‘tales’ have been written especially for this purpose. These have been donated, to be freely distributed as widely as possible to people in Birmingham and beyond.


The poems: background

These were written in deliberate attempts to cover a range of lengths and styles. Some are meant to be taken quite lightly; others are meant to be lingered over. The people involved in bringing these poems together have donated them for use in the Year of Reading in Birmingham. There is the possibility of using further ‘episodes’ as triggers to gather in other poems written in 2008 by people living or working in Birmingham.

The tales: background

These are (fictional) stories told to an imaginary researcher. They capture fragments of the lives of each narrator. The ‘tales’ are being brought together as an imagined account of social research but, in the meantime, a selection have been donated to Birmingham’s 2008 National Year of Reading activities.

As more ‘episodes’ come out, it will be interesting to know what your views are of the lives described, but for now why not simply read them and talk to others about what you have read.

How widely can it go?

A taster of several of the poems, a number of tales and a non-fiction section was circulated by email. These writings were produced essentially for an adult audience, but have general appeal within that. The hope is that readers will enjoy them, discover something to think/talk about and will want to share them with others in Birmingham or elsewhere. Some people are already sending the taster to family and friends (whether in Birmingham or not)and others have agreed to promote it via their Facebook etc sites.

Since starting in April it has been very exciting to find that the tales and poems have already reached many different countries including: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Cyprus, Dubai, England, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Zambia...........


We hoped that people would read the poems, read the tales, check out the non-fiction bit – and want to read more. Certainly the people who ‘road tested’ them for us were very enthusiastic. Six further ‘episodes’ have been posted on the website [1] at monthly intervals since April 2008.

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