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A wonderful summer to be a Swallow or an Amazon

It’s been a remarkable summer so far for an old-fashioned story about some children who were allowed to go off on their own and camp on an island…without their parents!

Arthur Ransome’s classic Swallows and Amazons has featured prominently in the celebrations of World Heritage Status for the Lake District, recognition for his contribution to the area’s cultural treasury.

At the same time, the 2016 film version of the story has been released in America where it’s been received with great acclaim…and some health and safety puzzlement.

Now a new generation- and older fans – can join in the celebrations of the narrative when a marathon reading of Swallows and Amazons will be staged on the shore of the lake where the tale was set.

The event, to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Ransome, will take place at Coniston on Sunday September 3.

A number of celebrity readers have already signed up to take part and it’s expected that the book’s 31 chapters will take around nine hours to read.

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;and a further exhibition and series of activities at Blackwell, near Windermere.

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.

“It seems an appropriate way to celebrate the life and work of Ransome,” he said. “We are delighted that the Lake District National Park  has offered their site at the Coniston Boating Centre on the lake shore. And our partners at the Arthur Ransome Trust are providing marquees to keep our readers and visitors under canvas, in true Swallows and Amazons fashion.”

Dr Routledge’s 13 year old daughter Caitlin will be one of the younger readers, along with Elizabeth Kaye, the 11 year old daughter of Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, owners of Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, who are avid fans of the Ransome stories.

Also taking part is Becky Heaton Cooper, director of the Heaton Cooper Studio, who is currently reading Swallows and Amazons to her six year old twins Alfie and Ophelia. “They love the book. They’ve not yet sailed, but we’ve paddled in a Canadian canoe to ‘Wild Cat Island’ on Coniston, so they identify with all the adventures,” said Becky.

“We have a remarkable literary and artistic heritage here in the Lakes and it is a pleasure to connect our family of artists with one of the great writers.”

Among the celebrity readers who have signed up are 14 year old actor Hannah Jayne Thorp, who played the part of Peggy in last year’s film version of Swallows and Amazons. The screenplay writer of that film, Andrea Gibb, will also read a chapter, along with Christina Hardyment, author of several Ransome-related books and senior executor for the Arthur Ransome Literary Estate. Also reading will be Ransome fan Christopher Wordsworth, great great great great grandson of the poet William Wordsworth.

Details: https://ifnotduffers.org/volunteer/

 

(part of the LakesCulture calendar http://lakesculture.co.uk/lakes-culture-2017-calendar-events/)

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Choose your chapter of Swallows and Amazons if not a duffer

Fans of Arthur Ransome who want to take part in a marathon reading of the classic Lake District story Swallows and Amazons can now volunteer via a new website launched this week.

The site, www.ifnotduffers.org , invites readers to choose from a list of chapters for the event which will be staged on the shores of Coniston in September.

Organised by the University of Liverpool in association with the Lake District National Park and the Arthur Ransome Trust and sponsored by Clocktower of Milnthorpe, the literary marathon is expected to take all day on Sunday September 3.

The name of the website comes from the telegram sent by the father of the children in the story who want to sail and camp on an island. He replies:  “Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers, won’t drown.”

A number of celebrity readers have already signed up to take part including actors from the 1974 and 2016 film versions of Swallows and Amazons, Sophie Neville and Hannah Jayne Thorp, the screenplay writer Andrea Gibb, the director of the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, Becky Heaton Cooper, and Christopher Wordsworth, the great great great great grandson of the poet William Wordsworth.

not duffers sketch

Better drowned than duffers: Arthur Ransome’s own sketch for Swallows and Amazons, published by Jonathan Cape

Tom Harvey, the owner of Clocktower domestic applicances is going to be on duty on the day brewing tea and coffee for the reading team.

The organiser Dr Chris Routledge, head of Continuing Education, English Language and Literature, at Liverpool University, is hoping for some young readers to join the team – along with his 13 year old daughter Caitlin, and Elizabeth Kaye, the 10 year old daughter of Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, owners of Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel.

He said: “Swallows and Amazons still appeals to all ages and all generations, and we’ve been delighted with the response to this event. It will mark the 50th anniversary of Ransome’s death, and is a celebration of reading, the Lake District and being outdoors.”

You can sign up as a volunteer here: https://ifnotduffers.org/volunteer/

http://lakesculture.co.uk/lakes-culture-2017-calendar-events/

Sponsor will keep the camp kettle boiling for marathon readers

The Swallows and Amazons marathon at Coniston this summer is to be sponsored by a team who will keep the kettle boiling for the readers.

Tom Harvey of kitchen appliance firm Clocktower has come on board to make sure that there’s a constant supply of tea and coffee for the team of readers and visitors to the lakeside event.

Tom reads S&A

But fans of the story might be disappointed to learn that there won’t be a billy-can kettle over an open camp fire.

“That’s the way I’d love to do it,” said Tom, who has enjoyed re-reading the classic story since he was a child. “But we wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand. There will be more than 30 readers and a great many visitors, so we will have to use modern electric kettles.”

His Milnthorpe-based company will also provide an endless supply of teabags. Readers might recall that the children camping on the island put tea-leaves into their kettle, a practice frowned on by Mr Harvey. “I suspect the taste would have been a very stewed tea.”

The event, to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the author, Arthur Ransome, will take place at Coniston on Sunday September 3.

A number of celebrity readers have already signed up to take part including actors from two film versions, the screenplay writer, and a descendant of the poet William Wordsworth. It’s expected that the book’s 31 chapters will take around nine hours to read.

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.

susan and the kettle

It will mark the end of a summer-long exhibition at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston about Ransome, Russia and storytelling.

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.

“It seems an appropriate way to celebrate the life and work of Ransome,” he said. “We are delighted that the Lake District National Park  has offered their site at the Coniston Boating Centre on the lake shore. And our partners at the Arthur Ransome Trust are providing marquees to keep our readers and visitors under canvas, in true Swallows and Amazons fashion.”

Dr Routledge’s 13 year old daughter Caitlin will be one of the younger readers, along with Elizabeth Kaye, the 11 year old daughter of Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, owners of Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, who are avid fans of the Ransome stories.

Other readers who have signed up include 14 year old actor Hannah Jayne Thorp, who played the part of Peggy in last year’s film version of Swallows and Amazons. The screenplay writer of that film, Andrea Gibb, will also read a chapter, along with Christopher Wordsworth, great great great great grandson of the famous poet.

The event is part of the LakesCulture calendar http://lakesculture.co.uk/lakes-culture-2017-calendar-events/

 

Wordsworth to read Ransome

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.

Christopher Wordsworth

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.

http://lakesculture.co.uk/lakes-culture-2017-calendar-events/

Marathon reading of Swallows and Amazons…beside the lake

A marathon reading of the classic children’s story Swallows and Amazons will be staged this summer on the shore of the lake where the tale was set.

The event, to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the author, Arthur Ransome, will take place at Coniston on Sunday September 3.

A number of celebrity readers have already signed up to take part and it’s expected that the book’s 31 chapters will take around nine hours to read.

coniston_boating_centre

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.

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.

“It seems an appropriate way to celebrate the life and work of Ransome,” he said. “We are delighted that the Lake District National Park  has offered their site at the Coniston Boating Centre on the lake shore. And our partners at the Arthur Ransome Trust are providing marquees to keep our readers and visitors under canvas, in true Swallows and Amazons fashion.”

chris-reading-moby-dick

Dr Routledge’s 13 year old daughter Caitlin will be one of the younger readers, along with Elizabeth Kaye, the 11 year old daughter of Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, owners of Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, who are avid fans of the Ransome stories.

Also taking part is Becky Heaton Cooper, director of the Heaton Cooper Studio, who is currently reading Swallows and Amazons to her six year old twins Alfie and Ophelia. “They love the book. They’ve not yet sailed, but we’ve paddled in a Canadian canoe to ‘Wild Cat Island’ on Coniston, so they identify with all the adventures,” said Becky.

“We have a remarkable literary and artistic heritage here in the Lakes and it is a pleasure to connect our family of artists with one of the great writers.”

Among the celebrity readers who have signed up are 14 year old actor Hannah Jayne Thorp, who played the part of Peggy in last year’s film version of Swallows and Amazons. The screenplay writer of that film, Andrea Gibb, will also read a chapter, along with Christina Hardyment, author of several Ransome-related books and senior executor for the Arthur Ransome Literary Estate.

hannah-as-peggy