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Bread and Roses – part four

Written by Rachael Norris, 5th August 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’.

We hope you can find within  the pages of this anthology sustenance for the spirit and aid in glimpsing the roses.

In the final two editions of Bread and Roses, parts 3 and 4, 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 all need to make to help end racism.

We want to make sure that the literature we promote reflects the perspectives of diverse people with diverse experience. We hope that the range of texts and authors included in this edition will give you, along the way, something new to discover.

Download part four of the anthology here.

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