In 2021, to celebrate ten years of Give a Book, we were delighted to announce a new prize.
During a year when we were all reminded of the power of books to combat isolation, to transport and to inspire us, and when pleasure felt a long way off for so many, we were delighted to announce a new prize. The Pleasure of Reading Prize is divided equally between an author ‘who gives pleasure through their work’ and a Give a Book charitable project of the winner’s choice.
Dreamed up during lockdown when people returned to or even took up reading, and when reading ‘really came in to its own’ (Prison Librarian), the prize was inspired by The Pleasure of Reading, edited by our patron, Antonia Fraser. 2021’s Pleasure of Reading Prize also marked Give a Book’s 10th Anniversary.
Give a Book is a reading for pleasure charity, and this prize is a way to combine our commitment to authors with our charitable mission.
The annual prize of £10,000 is sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing and generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The Pleasure of Reading Prize is shared between the winning author and a charitable Give a Book project of their choice, which could be a prison, a school, or another project where reading for pleasure can make a real difference.*
“For me, lucky enough to learn when very young, reading is and always has been one of the great pleasures in life. This is why I strongly support Give a Book, the charity which believes in supplying books to people who would not otherwise have them – such as prisoners and disadvantaged children. This exciting new prize is going to combine the two: thank a writer who has given outstanding pleasure as well help on the work of Give a Book.” Lady Antonia Fraser
“ ‘The Pleasure of Reading’ is a phrase underpinning Give a Book’s work in getting books to those who might not easily have access to them. How fitting that that phrase should be the name of this wonderful new prize which will extend Give a Book’s charitable work while also acknowledging those writers who have been responsible for sending out so much pleasure into the world.” Kamila Shamsie
“I suppose for me the ‘pleasure of reading’ is in feeling safe … it’s a reminder that everything, even and especially the hardest things, has a precedent. So you’re not alone, not ‘lost in a forest’ after all.” Emily Berry, The Pleasure of Reading
Reading for pleasure is at the heart of Give a Book’s ethos. In prisons, schools in deprived areas and with disadvantaged communities, Give a Book aims to cultivate and foster a reading for pleasure environment. For over 10 years, we have worked to connect individuals with books and to encourage a lifelong love of reading.
In The Pleasure of Reading, edited by Antonia Fraser, forty-three acclaimed writers explain what first made them interested in literature, what inspired them to read and what makes them continue to do so. Contributors include Margaret Atwood, Buchi Emecheta, Carol Ann Duffy, Germaine Greer, Tom Stoppard, Kamila Shamsie and Rory Stewart.
*The Pleasure of Reading Prize is administered through the charity Give a Book. The nominees are chosen by the judges and submissions are not invited.
Bloomsbury is a leading independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction, children’s, specialist, academic and professional titles, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is one of the few publishers with a portfolio that includes both general and academic publishing. Bloomsbury’s ambitious growth story has seen the Group become a significant global publisher with offices in the UK, US, Australia and India.
Over more than 30 years the Blavatnik Family Foundation, chaired by Sir Leonard Blavatnik, has donated very substantial funding to science, education, culture, and other charitable institutions throughout the world. It has an impressive record of support for local as well as global bodies, including in the fields of literature and community services.