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Call for Ideas: Blind Bookworms

4 January 2018

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Last year, we asked young people to share their big ideas for getting others to read more. We awarded five groups with up to £750 funding (you can see all the winning groups here), and we’re very excited to be able to share the final projects now.

First up is Ellie Wait and Blind Bookworms

Ellie applied for the Call for Ideas with a project to make reading more accessible to other young people who are blind or visually impaired. She loved listening to audiobooks, but found that a lot of the visual descriptions used by writers stopped her from escaping fully into the story.

“I’ve been registered blind since birth, meaning that if an author sets a scene with only visual descriptions, I am less likely to feel immersed in the surroundings the writer is trying to depict. I wanted to engage visually impaired (VI) young people in reading for pleasure and show how audiobooks are just as effective and immersive as standard print. Above all, I wanted to encourage them to use their own imaginations to fill in the gaps which may have been left from visual descriptions.”

She decided to get a group of young people together to talk about their favourite books, then re-write and record new versions that focused on other descriptions, not just visual ones.

“We all found our flow behind the microphone and soon we weren’t just recording the scripts. We began interviewing each other and asking questions about not only our visual impairments but also books and writing. It quickly became apparent to me that these short bursts of recorded conversations were perhaps just as important as the descriptive stories we’d written and recorded."

“The idea of creating a podcast reared its head and flooded me with excitement. The possibility of creating an online community which focuses on books, accessibility and discussion is incredibly appealing to me: a celebration of the vast and varied audience that literature can reach. I cannot wait for you all to hear the results of the day but I am even more excited to see what this could grow into.”

Ellie’s quotes here are taken from her blog posts: The Story of Books Blog: Part One and Part Two. Read them to find out more about the project and Ellie’s plans for the future of Blind Bookworms

Get Involved

Applications are now open for the Call for Ideas 2018. Find out more about the project and how to apply here