A descendant of England’s most famous poet is to join the marathon reading of a classic children’s story in the Lake District.
Christopher Wordsworth, the great great great great grandson of William Wordsworth, will read a chapter of Swallows and Amazons this summer at Coniston.
He joins a list of celebrities and enthusiasts who will take part in the day-long event to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the author Arthur Ransome who created the children’s adventure tale.
The event is being organised by Dr Chris Routledge who is head of Continuing Education, English Language and Literature, at Liverpool University, in association with the Lake District National Park and the Arthur Ransome Trust. Also supporting the reading are Stephen and Janine Sykes who live at Hill Top, Ransome’s last home in the Lake District.
It will mark the end of a summer-long exhibition at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston about Ransome, Russia and storytelling.
To be staged by the lakeshore north of the Coniston Boating Centre on Sunday September 3, the event is part of the LakesCulture calendar of happenings in the national park this year. It’s expected that the book’s 31 chapters will take around nine hours to read.
Christopher Wordsworth, whose family still own the house at Rydal Mount near Ambleside where William Wordsworth lived for most of his life, was one of the first to sign up to read. He said: “As a man fast approaching middle age I am certain to get as much pleasure from these books as I did when a child.”
He joins screenwriter Andrea Gibb who adapted Swallows and Amazons for a new film version which was released last year. Andrea writes for both screen and television, and her episode of the popular BBC 1 drama Call the Midwife, which was aired earlier this month, had the highest viewing figures of the series with over 9 million people tuning in to watch.
Organiser Chris Routledge said that he had been inundated with requests to read a chapter of the book. “It’s clearly still a favourite with many people who are well past their own childhood,” he said.
However, there will also be young readers: Dr Routledge’s 13 year old daughter Caitlin will be joined by Elizabeth Kaye, the 11 year old daughter of Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, owners of Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, and 14 year old actor Hannah Jayne Thorp, who played the part of Peggy in last year’s film version of Swallows and Amazons.
Dr Routledge, a great fan of Arthur Ransome, previously organised a marathon reading of Moby Dick at the Merseyside Maritime Museum; a much longer novel, that event took three days.