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Roddy Doyle writes his first Galaxy® Quick Read in collaboration with the Booker Prize Foundation

Roddy Doyle writes his first Galaxy® Quick Read in collaboration with the Booker Prize Foundation

1993 Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle is amongst the six authors announced as the names behind the 2015 Galaxy® Quick Reads titles. The books, which are sponsored by Galaxy®, will be published on 5 February 2015:

Roddy Doyle – Dead Man Talking

Jojo Moyes – Paris for Two One

Sophie Hannah – Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen

Fanny Blake – Red for Revenge

Adèle Geras – Out of the Dark

James Bowen – Street Cat Bob

Roddy Doyle, who won the Booker Prize 21 years ago for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, is the first Man Booker Prize author to pen a Quick Read. The book has come about through collaboration between Quick Reads and the Booker Prize Foundation, as part of the Foundation’s commitment to building the bridge between literature and literacy. Roddy is a passionate advocate for literacy and is involved in various projects promoting reading and writing in Ireland, as a contributor to the Open Door literacy series (the original inspiration for Quick Reads) and as Co-Founder and Chairman of Fighting Words in Dublin.

Dead Man Talking will be offered to a number of prisons and Young Offenders Institutions across the UK through the Booker Prize Foundation’s prisons initiative, Books Unlocked, facilitated by the National Literacy Trust.  It will expand the programme’s existing reach, which promotes reading in prisons by introducing Man Booker Prize-nominated titles through reading groups and author prison visits. As well as the Quick Read, Roddy Doyle’s Booker Prize winner Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha will be one of the titles offered through Books Unlocked in 2014/2015.

With one in six adults still struggling to read, Quick Reads will next year continue its work to break down the barriers to reading. 98% of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence to read whilst 95% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills

In 2015 the charity, which has published 129 titles, distributed more than 4.5 million copies and enabled over 3.5 million library loans since it was founded in 2006, will continue to work with literacy practitioners, prisons, librarians and retailers to bring the benefits and pleasure of reading to everyone.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Project Director, Quick Reads, comments:‘I love the Man Booker Prize and it distresses me that one in six adults of working age in the UK does not have the literacy skills to read the winning book. By asking a previous winner to write a Quick Read, we are enabling a far wider audience to experience both literature and the Man Booker Prize as they make progress on a journey towards becoming part of the reading world. Roddy’s book is a wonderfully compelling tale about life and death and shows the story possibilities that can exist even when using simpler language.

‘I am delighted that Galaxy is continuing to support Quick Reads for the fifth year running. Quick Reads is about bringing not just the benefits but also the pleasures of reading to adults.’

Roddy comments on his involvement:

‘I’m delighted to be involved with Quick Reads as they are all about creating new readers and I’ve seen at first-hand how low levels of literacy have a negative effect on people's lives. Literacy is the key to opening doors for everyone.

‘I started to write a story about a man who was pretending to be dead. But as I wrote, it changed and I realised I was writing about death.  I wanted the story to be funny and a bit frightening because, while it’s often frightening, death is rarely funny - and I wanted the challenge.'

Jonathan Taylor, Chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments: ‘I’m delighted about this partnership which I see as a powerful step in the Foundation’s continual mission to bridge the gap between literacy and literature. As the foremost literary prize in the English speaking world, the Man Booker Prize is a password for excellence. It is inspiring to see that excellence being made available readers at every level.’

Emma Thornton, Galaxy® Marketing Director comments: ‘At Galaxy we are passionate about helping people discover the pleasure of reading.  A great book and a bar of Galaxy are the perfect combination, and we are proud to have played a part in the growth and development of the Quick Reads charity over the last five years.’


2015 Quick Reads: Author biographies

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of ten acclaimed novels including the Barrytown Trilogy (The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van), two collections of short stories, Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents and most recently, The Guts, which won the Novel of the Year Award at the Irish Book Awards 2013. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. In 2009, he co-founded Fighting Words, a writing centre for children and young people, in Dublin.  He has written two books for the Open Door series.  His most recent book, published in September 2014, is Two More Pints. Also, in 2014, he co-wrote The Second Half, with Roy Keane.

Jojo Moyes is a novelist and a journalist. She worked at the Independent for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include The Ship of Brides, Foreign Fruit, The Last Letter from Your Lover and The Girl You Left Behind. Jojo’s international number one bestseller Me Before You has now sold over three million copies worldwide and her most recent novel, The One Plus One is also a number one bestseller. She lives in Essex with her husband and their three children.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.  Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. Her latest book is The Telling Error, and she has written a brand new Poirot, to be published September 2014.

Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. Author of 3 novels, she has also written various non-fiction titles, acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities, and is also Books Editor of Woman & Home magazine. Her latest novel, With a Friend Like You, will be published August 2014.

Adèle Geras is the author of over 90 books for adults, teens and children and has previously written a Galaxy Quick Reads, Lily (2007). Born in Jerusalem, she was educated at Roedean School, Brighton and St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. She has been an actress and a teacher but has been a full time writer since 1976.  Her novel TROY was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book Award Highly Commended for the Carnegie Medal. Her first adult novel, Facing the Light was sold to more than 20 countries around the world. Her next novel, Cover Your Eyes, a romantic supernatural suspense story, will be published October 2014.

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A Street Car Named Bob and The World According to Bob. A Street Cat Named Bob has spent 2 years in the Top 10 bestseller list with combined sales of over 1 million copies.