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My favourite book is……

It’s “Litfest Week” across the Trent Academies Group. If Hay on Wye can do it why can’t we? Last year the idea was launched, this year it’s been carefully planned, the profile has been raised and it will be at a different level. I’m delighted to say that authors such as Bali Rai and Paula Rawsthorne have been signed up to speak at the academies. Other visitors include Steve Cawke, Gary Meehan, Angela Foxwood, Grace Balchin and Stephan Collishaw. All will be explaining where their inspiration comes from and how they organise their working lives. It should be fascinating. I’m certainly going to be calling into as many sessions as possible. I am full of admiration for anyone who can write a whole book. It’s a serious challenge to write thousands of words about something that happened or something that you’ve made up. I walk around Waterstones with a sense of wonder.

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This week I caught Mr. White in assembly at Farnborough explaining what books meant to him. I was most impressed to find out that he’s long been a fan of Beatrix Potter! It’s amazing to find out what hidden depths people have. I think he convinced the Year 10 audience that reading matters and that it’s an activity that can take you into different worlds – even though you might not move. At a meeting of the Nottingham Education Improvement Board this week I was impressed to hear that a new project called "Small Steps, Big changes” includes the delivery of a free book every month for 5 years to all babies born in certain areas of the city. What a good idea. Having access to books is so often associated with higher achievement in school. But quite apart from that it entertains, informs and soothes.

I’ve always loved reading. I started off reading Enid Blyton stories, then anything to do with sport. I’ve always got a book available to read. At the moment I’m reading Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” and last week I read “Children of the Master” by Andrew Marr. My favourite book ever? Tough call. Either “The Magus" by John Fowles, "The Blue Afternoon” by William Boyd or “Northern Soul” by Ed Jones. All read at different times of my life. All gripping. In the end “ The Magus” has it.

Here’s to the TAG Literary Festival. And thanks to all at Farnborough, Arnold Hill and Rushcliffe who’ve helped to create it.

Phil Crompton