If you’re in a book group or just love reading, come along to Colchester Library on Saturday 20 February, where you can expect an entertaining afternoon as the Year of Reading Dangerously team share their enthusiasm for writers from around the world.

There’ll be a number of activities, including speed-dating with books (not people!), although there will be time to chat with other reading enthusiasts as well. “Everyone seems to love being read to,” says Heather Reyes, “so we always finish up the session by reading out extracts from some of our own favourites”. These include the delightful Summer Book by Tove Jansson (the Finnish writer best known for her Moomin books for children), Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog (the book is much better than the film), Snow by the Turkish Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and No Saints or Angels by Czech writer Ivan Klima.

But there’ll be a host of other books for readers to have a taste of, along with afternoon tea, of course. Heather Reyes and Malcolm Burgess have run similar events elsewhere and they’ve always been enjoyed. They’re part of a wider project, A Year of Reading Dangerously, which includes a touring exhibition now on in Colchester Library and a number of events with well known writers, with Orange Prize-winner Helen Dunmore appearing in Colchester Library on 19 March as part of the Essex Book Festival.

So what’s behind this Arts Council-funded project? A passion for reading books from other countries and other cultures says Heather Reyes “When Malcolm and I were putting together the Oxygen Books’ city-pick anthologies of writing about major world cities – Berlin, St Petersburg, Istanbul, New York, Paris and a number of others – we worked with writers, translators and publishers from a whole range of countries and our eyes were opened to the great wealth of writing out there we just hadn’t come across before, even though we were both enthusiastic readers.”

“We guessed that if we had been missing out on the pleasures of these books, the chances were that plenty of other people were too. We really want to share the joy and insights on offer from ‘reading the world’ – reading beyond the most obvious things usually promoted by mainstream publishers and booksellers.

Venue: Colchester Library cafe area on Saturday 20 February from 2.30 – 4.30 pm.
Booking: Reserve your place by emailing kirstie.kemp@essex.gov.uk or tel 01206 245920.
More info: email malcolm.burgess3@btopenworld.com or phone 07594490216