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Lost World Read 2009


Organisers of the largest collaborative reading campaign ever held in the UK announced today that almost 200,000 free books will be distributed to the public in the participating areas in February and March 2009.  Readers in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Hampshire, Shrewsbury, Oxford and most of South West England will be able to pick up a free copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World from their local library, or from a number of participating partner oganisations from Saturday 31st January 2009. The campaign celebrates Arthur Conan Doyle's 150th birthday and Charles Darwin's bicentenary with a mass-read through the creation of four new books.  Two versions of The Lost World have been produced - a paperback and a special quick read edition.   A comic biography of Darwin's life will also be available, introducing his theories on evolution which are explored in The Lost World, as well as a reader's guide which looks at Darwin, Conan Doyle, dinosaurs and fossils, as well as evolutionary themes in British science fiction. The campaign artwork features Wallace and Gromit, designed and donated by Aardman Animations.  Full details of where you can claim your free copy of the book can be found on The Lost World Read website, ( which will be launched on Friday 30th January 2009. 

The Lost World is the Edinburgh-born author's gripping adventure story, which follows the journey of Professor Challenger and his companions in search of a lost world in South America and their exciting encounters with dinosaurs and primitive man. 

Glasgow and Edinburgh have come together to create Scotland's largest reading campaign. 80,000 books will be distributed free through schools, libraries, businesses, partner organisations and cafes, pubs, restaurants and bars across the Cities. The Lost World Read 2009 will run throughout February and March 2009 with a public programme of more than 100 events being held across the UK.  There are talks, exhibitions, workshops, walking tours, plays, films and public performances covering The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Darwin and a web-based animation project - The Lost Book.

In Edinburgh, a UNESCO City of Literature, 22 events have been scheduled and highlights include screenings of the 1925 classic silent movie of The Lost World, talks on the importance of Darwin's theory of evolution in the modern day by renowned speakers including Professor Aubrey Manning, and appearances from award-winning science fiction authors China Miéville and Ken MacLeod. Children can participate in their very own Dino Dig or become a Dinosaur Detective, or enjoy performances of How The Giraffe Got It's Neck.  In addition a specially commissioned ‘Kora and the Paper Cinema' will deliver a live paper animation performance of The Lost World which will visit schools and community centres in the City.

There will be an extensive range of public and schools events in Glasgow, forming part of the Aye Write! Bank of Scotland Book Festival.  Full details of all the events taking place in Edinburgh can be found on the City of Literature website ( and the Aye Write Book Festival programme launches on the 17th January ( ).

A campaign leaflet has been distributed in Edinburgh giving information about Arthur Conan Doyle and his links to the city. Born in Edinburgh on Picardy Place, he is one of our most famous Scots, known around the world for having created fiction's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Ali Bowden, Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, who are co-ordinating the campaign in the city said "There are so many ways in which people can get involved in the campaign this year - through book groups, libraries, attending events or participating in the web-based animation project - The Lost Book - and of course, through reading the wonderful adventure story, The Lost World.  There's something for everyone and we're delighted that - in the world's first UNESCO City of Literature - we can come together like this to celebrate one of Edinburgh's most famous authors."

Karen Cunningham, Director of the Aye Write! Festival said "This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together readers from Glasgow and Edinburgh to celebrate one of Scotland's most popular writers - we hope this will engage children of all ages to ‘explore' the fun of reading"

Andrew Kelly, Director of the Great Reading Adventure said ""We are delighted to be able to celebrate three landmark anniversaries - the births of Darwin and Conan Doyle, and the publication of On the Origin of Species - with the mass-read of The Lost World, which will bring together thousands of participants of all ages. This is a great way for people to reacquaint themselves - or encounter for the first time - this classic adventure story and also to learn about literature, natural history, dinosaurs and the continuing impact of Darwin's work. The four publications specially produced for the project, along with the extensive website and wide range of activities taking place will ensure this is an enjoyable and informative experience. We are also pleased to be working with so many different partners, old and new, from across the country."

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