When we launched the Brixton BookJam in July 2012 with sixteen authors, we had no idea that it would still be running two years later. Over nine events, the BookJam has hosted over 100 authors, and even come to the notice of Radio 4’s Open Book.
The BookJam was inspired by petcha kutcha, and one-too-many dry author readings in which maybe a dozen people politely applauded, warm white wine in hand. What if you brought some rock and roll to the world of reading, giving a broad range of authors, both celebrated and unpublished a stage? The great leveller of course is that even if you’re famous, you only get five minutes. And both the authors and the audience love it.
We’ve done BookJams in various formats, and all kinds of places – including a two-day residence at the Lambeth Country Show that featured dog burlesque by the ever-wonderful Dame Amanda Rogers. Also at the Country Show, we started to engage with children. Sarah Rogers, a Tate artist, ran a ‘how to draw’ workshop for kids, and throughout the whole weekend we had an ‘endless story’ on a roll of paper, written by anyone wandering by…which led to Ermintrude getting drunk on chucklehead, but that’s another tale… The long and the short of it was that people began to ask us to put on a Kids’ BookJam – with the same principles of openness, short readings, unpredictability and irreverence that powered the adult version. And thus the Brixton Kids’ BookJam was born.
The first event will be held at Number 6 Brixton – a wonderful community space on Somerleyton Road, in the heart of Brixton. We chose this space partly because of the great work that Brixton Come Together has done in making it an inclusive and fun venue for a whole range of events, but also because it is smack bang in the centre of one of Lambeth’s most deprived wards, and we think that we can bring something special into the lives of the children that live in the estates around, as well as the broader population of Brixton. We will be working closely with local schools to ensure that everyone knows it’s happening, and like all of the other BookJam’s so far, it will be absolutely free. We would love to be there at the moment a child falls in love with reading…that would make it all worthwhile.
The following authors and illustrators have confirmed they will be appearing: Piers Torday, Emer Stamp, Andrew Weale, Margaret Bateson-Hill, Sam Gayton, Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow.
See more at: www.brixtonbookjam.com/kids-bookjam-2