Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature is delighted to welcome 14 Young UNESCO Ambassadors to its new Young City Reads programme. This new programme has been made possible through a funding award of £59,398 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme.

Young City Reads is a year-long programme of audience and leadership development drawing on Nottingham’s long tradition of free-thinking radicalism to inspire a range of collaborations across the city.

The Young City Reads programme has three main strands of activity:

  • 14 Young Ambassadors who will play a fantastic role fostering and building a culture of reading for pleasure in Nottingham. They will reflect on and explore what it means to be a UNESCO City of Literature, unearth uplifting stories, attend festivals and events, interview writers and co-produce a city-wide reading campaign to inspire more people to read. They will be supported and trained by writer-mentors and expert creatives who will help them carry out their ambassadorial roles.
  • The Big City Read: In partnership with Nottingham City Libraries, we will foster a positive attitude to reading through a shared exploration of uplifting books. Our Young Ambassadors will champion four young adult titles, encourage everyone in Nottingham to adopt these titles as their own, and bring all of this together with promotion across public transport, city centre and key neighbourhood sites.
  • MyVoice: Young people from across Nottingham will be invited to unleash their imagination and create a story which involves or reflects on the theme of social justice and its global impact. The competition will be a test of creativity, originality, style – and of the ability to entertain and enthrall.

Sandeep Mahal, Director, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature said: “We’re delighted Arts Council England has chosen to support our plans to galvanise the city around an exciting new programme bringing words and books to new audiences through the National Lottery Project Grants programme. The support will enable Nottingham City of Literature to develop new partnerships and new conversations to flourish in secondary schools and library venues. We are grateful to Arts Council England for their support and can’t wait to explore exciting new collaborations with our Young City of Literature Ambassadors.”

Peter Knott, Area Director at Arts Council England, said: “Great literature has the power to transport the reader through time and space, opening up windows into other worlds and cultures, and this can be particularly transformative for young people. This investment belongs to the whole community, and we want as many people as possible to benefit from it. We look forward to seeing the Young UNESCO Ambassadors develop their own leadership skills and inspire the next generation of creative talent across the city.”

The 14 UNESCO City of Literature Ambassadors are:

Andrew from Bluecoat Wollaton Academy

Ava from Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology

Amel from Nottingham Girls’ Academy

Joseph from Fernwood School

Mary from Nottingham Academy (Ransom Road)

Danica from Nottingham Free School

Azfreen from Karima Institute

Autumn from Farnborough Academy

Giorgia from Oakwood Academy

Zoe from Trinity Catholic School

Chelsea from Trinity Catholic School

Jesvita from Trinity Catholic School

Emma from Nottingham Academy

Abigail from Nottingham Academy (Greenwood Road)