“I love the idea of sitting on giant books. With the WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT BookBench, I suppose you can say that you can’t go through it, but you can go over it, you can go under it or better still you can sit on it. I think that people seeing bookbenches in the street will chuckle and remind each other about a good reading experience.” – Michael Rosen
Well, that’s it. The BookBench Summer is over. Fifty out of the fifty-one Bookbenches have been collected and taken away to be tarted up before they’re auctioned off on Tuesday 7th October 2014 at the Southbank Centre. The money raised will go to the National Literacy Trust, an independent charity tackling low literacy levels across the UK, especially in disadvantaged areas, via community projects, support for schools, and campaigning.For the record, the only BookBench left on public display now is the last-to-arrive 51st BookBench which – after a public vote – features Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE as illustrated by artist Chris Riddell. It’s on display until early October at the King’s Place in King’s Cross. No, I hadn’t heard of the building either.
Judging by media coverage and the reaction of people I’ve talked to the whole BookBench pop-up-art idea has been a huge success. Paul Kidby, illustrator for THE LIBRARIAN, the Discworld BookBench, told me “My wife, Vanessa, and I have lost count of how many people have emailed or tweeted photos of themselves sitting on our bench. It’s been great. A really rewarding project to be involved with.” Does he have any idea who might be planning to bid to buy his bookbench? “No idea at all. I’ve heard some talk that a group of Discworld fans might try and buy it for Terry (Pratchett). That’s a really nice idea, but it might just be a mad internet rumour. Who knows? Whoever buys it, we hope the sale raises a lot of money for the National Literacy Trust. When our Eko the Elephant was auctioned a few years ago he raised £16,000 for the Orangutan Foundation charity – so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
LINKS & INFO:
The main BookBench event site is here: www.BooksAboutTown.org.uk which includes a link to the site for the auction. The initiative was co-organised by Wild in Art.
More of Paul’s art can be seen here: www.PaulKidby.Net and you can talk to him about benches, biscuits or anything else that takes your fancy on twitter via: @PaulKidby