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The Penny Readings returns to St. George’s Hall this Christmas 

Written by Emma Walsh, 8th November 2018


Maxine Peake and Frank Cottrell Boyce top the bill for reading community celebration 

National charity, The Reader, will conclude an exciting year of 10th birthday celebrations by bringing people together and books to life at its much-anticipated Christmas event, The Penny Readings. 

Following a two-year break, the annual event returns to The Concert Room of St. George’s Hall on Friday 7 December thanks to the support of Arts Council England, players of the National Lottery through Big Lottery Fund and players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. 

Supporting over 500 Shared Reading groups across the UK each week, The Reader, which brings great stories, poems and plays to life through live reading aloud and group discussion, first launched The Penny Readings in 2004. 

Inspired by Charles Dickens who, in the 1840s, travelled the world with his live readings, the annual event gives a nod to the author with a concluding reading from A Christmas Carol 

The programme of music and entertainment will also include readings from two of the charity’s patrons, award-winning actress Maxine Peake and the author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce. 

Maxine Peake, currently on location in Liverpool filming for an ITV mini-series about the Hillsborough disaster, said:

"Reading opens new worlds and deep experience so I’m delighted, as a patron of The Reader, to celebrate the 500 weekly Shared Reading groups The Reader has got going. These groups meet every week, giving people a chance to connect and support each other by sharing great books. What could be better? And I’m looking forward to reading at this year’s Penny Readings at St. George’s Hall where Charles Dickens himself read to a Liverpool audience. What will I be reading? Let’s just leave you with a clue – she’s a Northern Power Woman!” 

The Reader’s founder and director, Jane Davis said:

"Since the last Penny Readings in 2016, our volunteer base has grown enormously – there are now over 800 volunteers leading the Reading Revolution in local communities across the UK. This year we’ve been travelling up and down the country to meet some of them and The Penny Readings will be an incredible opportunity to bring many of them together along with our group members and partners in the North West.” 

Due to demand, 100 public tickets for The Penny Readings will be allocated through a ballot which opens at 10am on Friday 9 November. For more information and to enter the ticket ballot, visit: 

To sponsor The Penny Readings, email:

Download the full press release here.

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