We are delighted to have recieved an open letter of support jointly signed by 20 Gloucestershire writers, including some very famous names!
Libraries are a gateway to knowledge. They are places where children learn to love reading, and where that love is nurtured and becomes life-long. Libraries enable all of us – especially those on low incomes – to both broaden and deepen our reading range in a way that the internet and bookshops simply can’t.
But libraries are much more than this. They can be places of refuge for the unemployed, for the lonely, for the elderly, and for parents with young children. For some, they can provide enough human contact and diversion to halt the slide into depression; and for others they can be a place to get warm enough to stay healthy. They support the work of schools, and help to ease the pressure on other services. Their contribution to the general well being of a community is enormous.
Libraries are a vital service; and in times of recession their importance grows. As writers, but also as library users and voters, we ask the Council not to go ahead with the proposed cuts, which will cause immense, long-term, and perhaps irreparable damage to communities across Gloucestershire.
Background on signatories:
Jilly Cooper is a journalist, writer and media superstar. The author of many No.1 bestselling novels, she was appointed OBE in 2004 for services to literature, and in 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Gloucestershire for her contribution to literature and services to the County.
Katie Fforde is a bestselling author, and founder of the Katie Fforde Bursary for writers who have yet to secure a publishing contract. She has served as both committee member and chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Jamila Gavin is a highly-respected author, winner of the prestigious Whitbread Children’s Book Award and who has been shortlisted for numerous others including the Smarties Prize, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, and the Carnegie Medal. Her work has been adapted for radio, theatre and television, and major film adaptations are planned of two of her books.
Mo Hayder is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of crime fiction.
John Dickinson is a critically-acclaimed author of young adult fiction, and son of the distinguished writer Peter Dickinson.
John Dougherty is a popular children’s author who has been shortlisted for a number of awards. He is also a poet and songwriter. He currently serves on the committee of the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group of the Society of Authors.
Desmond Fforde, husband of Katie and cousin of the bestselling Jasper, recently published his own first book, a collection of sea stories. All profits benefit the Prostate Cancer Society.
Cherry Gilchrist is an award-winning author of many non-fiction titles for adults and children, with themes ranging from Russian mythology to family history. She is also an established lecturer and a tutor for various creative writing programmes, including Oxford University and Marlborough Summer School.’
Cindy Jefferies is a prolific and popular children’s author who writes both solo and in partnership with her son Seb Goffe. Her first book was published by Chicken House’s Barry Cunningham, who discovered JK Rowling for Bloomsbury.
Alice Jolly is a novelist, a playwright, and a award-winning writer of poems and short stories, who also teaches creative writing at Oxford University.
Sue Limb is perhaps best known for her long-running weekly Guardian feature, Dulcie Domum; but she is also a popular author of fiction for children, teens and adults, and a writer for television and radio.
Elizabeth Lindsay is an actress and puppeteer who voiced and operated Topov the monkey in the popular children’s series Pipkins. After creating Heggerty Haggarty for children’s TV she wrote the books that accompanied the series. Since then she has been and remains a successful writer of children’s books and television scripts.
Anthony McCarten is a prizewinning novelist, a filmmaker and screenwriter, and – although now a Gloucester resident – probably New Zealand’s most commercially successful playwright ever.
Inga Moore is a writer and illustrator of picture books, probably best known for the classic and award-winning Six Dinner Sid.
Marcus Moore is a writer, performance poet and arts consultant who has written for the BBC, performs at and regularly hosts poetry slams including the Cheltenham Literature Festivals, and was BBC Gloucestershire’s Reading and Writing Ambassador in 2008.
Teresa Moorey is the best-selling author of more than 40 books on witchcraft and related subjects, and a contributor to magazines for children and adults.
Shoo Rayner battled dyslexia on his own to become a leading, international children’s author and illustrator with more than 150 books to his credit. He is particularly committed to writing for struggling readers, and runs a highly successful online drawing school on YouTube.
Caroline Sanderson is the author of three non-fiction books, most recently Kiss Chase and Conkers, a celebration of childhood games. A reviewer of both adult and children’s books, she has been a regular contributor to The Bookseller magazine for the past 10 years.
Hannah Shaw is a rising star in the world of children’s illustrations, who has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and whose first self-penned picture book won the Cambridgeshire Children’s Picture Book Award.
Gill Tavner is a teacher who retells classic stories to make them accessible to children. She was shortlisted in the 2009 Jane Austen’s Regency World Awards.