National Adult Literacy Agency release book to celebrate 40th anniversary

by Lina Jans

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), they have released a collection of short stories and essays written in plain English to encourage adults that find reading difficult to discover the joy of reading.

Edited by one of Ireland’s best-known authors, Patricia Scanlan, and published as part of the New Island Open Door series, VOICES is available at any Irish library, online or in bookstores. Over 27 Irish writers took part in the initiative, with The Department of Rural and Community Development funding copies of the books to ensure they’re available in every library.

Before Patricia Scanlan became a full-time writer, she worked in Dublin Public Libraries, where she met people who could neither read nor write, but wanted to learn both. As there were no suitable books at that time, she decided to write one. Through her simple writing and skilful storytelling, Patricia Scanlan makes reading a joyful experience rather than a chore.

Speaking about VOICES, Clare McNally, NALA Communications Manager, said: “Since our foundation in 1980 we have helped many people to return to education to improve their reading and writing skills. In addition to the technical skills, people gain self-confidence. This has a positive ripple effect in their family, their community and society.

“Thanks to Patricia Scanlan, the authors and the two departments for providing VOICES . We would like to encourage anyone who is nervous about reading a novel to contact us for information about free courses throughout the country.”

VOICES includes contributions from TV personality Graham Norton, author Roddy Doyle, podcast host Blindboy Boatclub, writer Carlo Gébler, author Christine Dwyer Hickey, and many more.

An Post, a long-time supporter of NALA and adult literacy initiatives, is broadcasting virtual readings by some of the authors of VOICES that can be viewed on An Post Social Media Channels throughout October, which can be watched here.

Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail, said: “We are delighted to be working with NALA to make this new collection of easy-to-read stories from some of the best Irish authors available to people of all ages and interests.”

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