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Preserve your Lockdown stories for future generations

The Reader is calling for people to take part in an exciting new creative project that will capture the ways people have lived through the pandemic in 2020 and preserve their memories for years to come.

The national charity, which uses literature to bring people together, is asking the public to share their thoughts and experiences of living through Covid-19 in a collective Commonplace Book.

First used in the 17th Century, Commonplace Books are journals where people recorded anything important or worth remembering. Often, they included recipes, quotes, sermons, theories and speeches that were ordered and categorized, and used to inspire future self-reflection and ideas. Writers such as John Milton and Lewis Caroll used Commonplace Books to catalogue their ideas.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the summer of 2020 have been unlike anything in living memory, and will become part of our history and story when people look back in years to come,” said Anna Farrell, Head of Calderstones Programmes at The Reader. “As the current custodians of the Mansion House in Calderstones Park, we have a part to play in helping to capture momentous occasions, to help people to reflect but also to preserve our stories for future generations.

Our Calderstones commonplace book will be like a scrapbook, recording the ups, downs and everything in between. Everyone is welcome to contribute. We’re looking for comforting lockdown recipes, quotes from books and poems, letters and photographs, arts and craft, and thought-provoking ideas. We hope one day to display it at the Mansion House for all to see so we can look back on it in the future to inspire us.”


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Our work is based on the belief that all great literature can provide points of connection for and between individuals. We believe, as Bernardine Evaristo wrote recently, ‘literature can connect us to each other and foster and express our shared humanity’. As we move from one month into the next, our daily readings for #BlackHistoryMonth draw to an end and our new theme for November is ‘Light in the Dark’. In this article from the latest issue of #TheReaderMagazine we talk about our commitment to find and share with each other the great literature that will light the way forward:

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To get involved, download the Commonplace Book pack from The Reader website or submit a request to receive one in the post.

Completed entries can be sent in by post or email to: The Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool /

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 6 December, 9am.

The Reader bring thousands of people together on a weekly basis in small groups to share and discuss great novels, short stories and poems.

By reading with people in community centres, libraries, care homes, hospitals, prisons, secure units, workplaces and in high street cafes, and at their home in Calderstones Park in Liverpool, the charity’s work helps to improve wellbeing, reduce social isolation and build stronger communities.

Find out more by visiting their website here.literatureThe above article by Nisha Kotecha first published on in Nov, 2020.