Top author Andy McNab joins Edinburgh Libraries to champion reading for pleasure

Bestselling author Andy McNab has joined Edinburgh City Libraries to support Adult Learner Week.

The Six Book Challenge encourages young people and adults who might not otherwise pick up a book to develop a love of reading and improve their literacy skills at the same time. Last year over 35,000 people took part in a variety of settings including workplaces, colleges, libraries, prisons and army education centres.

Andy McNab visited Edinburgh’s Oxgangs Library to join adult and young adult readers for a ‘Brunch and a Blether’, where he met beginner readers and shared his inspirational story on how he built up his literacy, a love of books, and started writing bestsellers.

A novelist and former SAS soldier, Andy McNab has sold over ten million books in the UK alone. His recent titles are the novels Silencer and The New Patrol and Quick Read Today Everything Changes. The latter tells his own literacy journey from borstal to top author via the army, which he joined at 17 with the reading age of an 11 year old. Andy was the official champion for the 2013 Six Book Challenge and continues to support its work.

Launched in 2008, the annual, nationwide Six Book Challenge is being increasingly recognised as a key intervention using reading for pleasure to tackle the UK’s continuing literacy problems and skills deficit. It encourages less confident adult readers in an ever-growing variety of settings, including workplaces, to develop a reading habit and improve their skills: ninety per cent of survey respondents say that they are more confident about reading after taking part in the Six Book Challenge, which invites them to pick six reads and complete a reading diary in order to receive a completer’s certificate.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “Edinburgh Libraries attract a number of high profile and influential authors throughout the year and we’re delighted to present a fantastic visit from influential author Andy McNab. Libraries are not just places to borrow books – they are community hubs where people can come to be inspired and learn more about reading, and it is fantastic that Andy is showing such strong support for learner readers in Edinburgh.”

Andy McNab, said: "We all want to have the best chances in life but reading and writing with confidence are key to this. The Six Book Challenge is a fantastic way for people at work to improve their skills at the same time as enjoying reading and talking about it with their colleagues and friends."

Genevieve Clarke, adult literacy specialist at The Reading Agency, said: “It’s wonderful to have such strong support from Andy. We have clear evidence that the Six Book Challenge is having a beneficial impact on people’s skills and helping them to develop a new reading habit. It’s the icing on the cake for participants to meet a top author who talks with such enthusiasm about their own love of reading.”

Andy McNab has also paid a visit to Saughton Prison in Edinburgh in order to present inmates with certificates for completing the 6 Book Challenge.

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For further media information, please contact Deborah Hyde on debbie.hyde@oasismedia.co.uk or 07956 320 486

For images of the Edinburgh Oxgangs Library event, please contact Katy Allison on katy.allison@edinburgh.gov.uk or 0131 529 4452

Notes to editors:

  • The Reading Agency is an independent charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life, by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. We are funded by Arts Council England (www.readingagency.org.uk).

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