Devon libraries launch big season of reading with special book for summer

reading on the beach

Posted on: 2 August 2012

Residents in Devon are being invited to take part in a unique countywide reading event this summer.

Devon County Council has teamed up with Transworld Publishers to launch the ‘Devon Book for Summer’ initiative, designed to encourage people across the County to read, review and share the same book over the summer period.

The ‘Devon Book for Summer’ this year is Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut novel ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’.

Chosen for its connection with Devon, the book’s unusual and moving story tells of an elderly man, Harold Fry, who leaves his home in Kingsbridge one morning to post a letter to a dying friend and unexpectedly sets out on a journey hundreds of miles from one end of the country to the other.

With no hiking boots, map, compass or mobile phone, Harold relies on the kindness of strangers  on a route which takes him to Bantham beach, Slapton, Loddiswell and on to Exeter and beyond, making chance encounters and reflecting on tragic events from his past which transform his life and in turn alter the lives of the people he meets.

Cllr Roger CroadCouncillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

“I am very pleased that we have this opportunity to celebrate reading and share this book with our residents.

“The ability to read is a vitally important skill that changes people’s lives and our libraries play a key role in helping both children and adults develop and maintain this skill. As well as the obvious benefits for every day life, reading a good book is a wonderfully creative experience that contributes to our enjoyment and overall wellbeing.

“We have one of the best library services in the UK and if we are to encourage more people to get into reading and continue to make good use of our libraries, we have to make it enjoyable and engaging. What better way to do it than together as a county reading and sharing our experiences of a book that has received worldwide acclaim and contains local scenes that will be familiar to us all – I can’t put it down, and I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else thinks!”

The book has been longlisted for the Man Booker prize and is being talked about as a potential winner

A limited number of free copies are being distributed via Devon County Council’s Libraries in Kingsbridge and Ivybridge whilst stocks last. Stickers inside the free books will encourage readers to pass the book on to friends, family or simply leave on park bench or bus for passers by when they have finished when they have finished so as many people can take part as possible. Library members can also borrow copies from any of Devon County Council’s libraries.

Readers can share their views on Rachel Joyce’s ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ on the Devon News Centre at

All reviews posted will be entered into a prize draw at the end of the summer, with one lucky reader winning a signed copy of the book.

Reading notes, courtesy of Transworld Publishers, are also available on the Devon News Centre here.

Happy reading!

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