01 December 2015
An exciting new reading initiative goes live today. As British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia Mission prepares for launch in December, a new reading initiative – One Giant Read – will become a reality here on Earth.
Created by charity Literature Works, in partnership with the RNIB and the UK Space Agency, and supported by Gollancz, The Poetry Archive and the Plymouth Literature Project at Plymouth University, the project offers easy to access reading materials and content themed to the Principia Mission and Tim Peake’s stay on the International Space Station.
Supported by the RNIB, Plymouth Literature Project at Plymouth University, The Poetry Archive and Gollancz, the project offers easy to access reading materials, audio books, poems, interviews and short films from leading Scientists all themed around British Astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the International Space Station.
The site brings film, audio books and recordings of writing, poetry and scientific commentary in order to be as accessible to as many readers as possible. With only 7% of all readable materials in formats accessible for blind people, the One Giant Read project is working with the RNIB to develop materials which will be as accessible as possible to their members and the initiative aims to raise funds to enable Literature Works and RNIB to develop more reading and writing initiatives, with 40p of every £1 donated going directly to RNIB to support their work. For every month Tim circles the Earth, the One Giant Read website offers a series of themed writing and reading challenges showcasing the very best of science fiction writers and exploring the influence science fiction has had on science fact.
The first of month is called ‘Arrival’ and will discuss the ‘Overview effect’: the moment when Tim will see Earth from a distance for the first time – stirring strong feelings of the fragility of our planet. To compliment this, our first month starts with an audio clip of the novel Blue Remembered Earth by contemporary British science fiction author Alastair Reynolds, including audio book extracts donated by Gollancz. The Poetry Archive brings us ‘Mouse’s Nest’ a beautiful poem the 19th century English poet John Clare, recorded by poet Paul Farley and Biological Scientist Professor Camille Parmesan of Plymouth University will be commenting on climate change with our profile focussing on the Scottish science fiction author Iain M. Banks alongside book reviews, films and more sci-fi news.
January moves on to the theme of ‘Gravity’ – including an excerpt from the prolific science fiction writer H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon and poetry by critically acclaimed poet Simon Barraclough. During the following months we also have poetry by Sir Andrew Motion, poems from The Poetry Archive and scientific commentary designed to both enthuse and educate on topics from space to robotics, navigation to life on other planets.
Every month the site will publish the best book reviews and ‘flash fiction’ short stories of up to 500 words from our audience, with each entry having the chance to win a highly prized official ‘Principia Mission’ patch, as worn by Tim Peake, and a free copy of one of the books showcased on the website.
Tracey Guiry, CEO of Literature Works says:
Science fiction is one of the most widely read and popular genres in the UK, and many ideas dreamt up by writers and poets in the past have now become science fact. The One Giant Read brings accessible examples of the best audio books, poems and videos from scientists to get readers excited about the arts and science, and our One Giant Write competition challenges writers to use the next seven months to complete and enter their unpublished novels.
Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, says:
We are thrilled that Tim’s mission will inspire such a great project that will recognise and encourage the imagination and creativity needed to continue our exploration of space. This exciting project will use literature to bring the latest science and engineering to new audiences.
Gollancz Commissioning Editor, Marcus Gipps, said:
We’re thrilled to be involved with One Giant Read. The best of science fiction builds on the world we live in, and Tim Peake’s forthcoming stay on the International Space Station reminds us that we can already achieve remarkable things. Audio versions of our books are hugely popular already, and both Gollancz and our authors are delighted to be supporting an initiative to increase the resources available for people with sight loss.
Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Plymouth University, said:
Space exploration is one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time, and consistently inspires people to think beyond the boundaries of what might be possible. I hope the One Giant Read project can capture that spirit, using a combination of science fact and fiction to educate audiences about the impact science and the arts can have on their daily lives. It provides a unique opportunity for us to use our world-leading expertise to enthuse people about the STEM subjects.
Find out more at One Giant Read.