Throughout the past year, we've all been looking for ways to keep connected. We've been finding ways to bring you events and opportunities in a digital format and we're pleased to have teamed up with libraries across the South West for our virtual tour, Word Online.

Word Online is a 15- date tour, running from 15th April -28th October featuring diverse writers hosted by 15 library services across the region. This tour is a continuation of the in-person tour of libraries which took place in 2018-19, Word on Tour.

Over the past year, libraries have continued to be there for their communities even though their doors might have been shut. Many libraries have run a ‘Call and collect’ service, or an ‘Ask a librarian’ style telephone service. We love the work that libraries do as hubs for their communities and working with them to produce exciting activities and events for library members. That’s why we’re delighted to be collaborating on Word Online, to connect libraries and their members with diverse writers who might be new to them. Throughout the tour, the writers will share their experiences and work in a range of formats including interactive events, readings, talks about craft and panel discussions. Each event is hosted by a librarian from one of the library services in the South West.

Audiences have the opportunity to tune in live from 6 -7 pm every second Thursday of the month, or watch the events on replay for one-month after the event has been broadcast, simply ‘save your seat’ for the events you want to watch. The tour aims to broaden access and bring a series of digital events to the library service in the region which are free of charge for everyone to enjoy.

Our next event is with Dean Atta, acclaimed poet and novelist. Dean will be reading from his debut novel The Black Flamingo and taking part in a Q&A hosted by Gloucestershire Libraries. There will also be the opportunity for you to ask Dean your questions. Save your free seat here.

We asked Dean why he is taking part in Word Online, he told us:

“I love libraries! All libraries of all types and sizes. When I was at primary school, I loved to borrow books, movies and music from the nearby Kensington Library. When I arrived at the University of Sussex to study Philosophy and English, I was blown away by the book-shaped architecture of the campus library and the wealth of knowledge within. I’ve given readings and creative writing workshops in countless community and school libraries across the UK. It’s always such a delight to work with passionate librarians! I’ve recently fallen in love with Langside Library in the Southside of Glasgow, where I now live. It’s a cosy local library, where I can happily stay all day reading and writing. I’m so excited for the online event with Gloucestershire Libraries on 10th June and I very much hope to visit in person one day.”

Find the full Word Online programme here.