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Bread and Roses Anthology – part three

Written by Rachael Norris, 9th July 2020

The Reader is a charity which usually brings people together to listen to stories, extracts and poems in free, weekly Shared Reading groups that take place in community spaces, prisons, hospitals, libraries and on high streets across the UK.

While in lockdown, many aspects of our usual way of life may have been suspended but literature’s ability to offer us comfort, escapism and fellow feeling remains ‘as true as it ever was’[1]. Through the national emergency, The Reader’s aim as an organisation continues to be to help humans survive and live well.

To this end we are providing two services – literature to nourish the spirit of all and, from our national HQ at Calderstones Mansion in Liverpool, food to keep the body alive for people locally in most need. In the words of the early female unionists of the US, who recognised that life was not only about basic breadline necessities but also about the ineffable beauty of the world, ‘give us bread, but give us roses’.

In this new edition of Bread and Roses, pieces have been chosen to help us reflect not only on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our lives and communities, but also on the changes we need to make in light of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We want to make sure that the literature we promote reflects the perspectives of diverse people with diverse experience. You may find some writers in these pages whose names are unfamiliar. Do look them up if you are interested; The Poetry Foundation’s website offers a great starting point.

Download part three of the anthology here.

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