Festival of Libraries: Sir Lenny Henry announced to lead Manchester celebration of books’ campaign

The Look For A Book campaign will involve a mass participation search for copies of the TV comedian and presenter’s children’s book hidden all over the city-region.

<p>Sir Lenny Henry will front the Look For A Book campaign at Manchester UNESCO City of Literature’s Festival of Libraries. Photo: Jack Lawson</p>

Sir Lenny Henry will front the Look For A Book campaign at Manchester UNESCO City of Literature’s Festival of Libraries. Photo: Jack Lawson

Sir Lenny Henry has been announced as the latest high-profile personality taking part in Manchester UNESCO City of Literature’s Festival of Libraries.

The well-known comedian and presenter will front the Look For A Book campaign which is part of the celebration of the written word and the places where they can be borrowed.

Sign up to our ManchesterWorld Today newsletter

Copies of Sir Lenny’s children’s book The Boy With Wings will be hidden across Greater Manchester this month and people will be encouraged to join in the search to locate them.

Other famous names already signed up to take part in the festival include former chancellor at The University of Manchester and poet Lemn Sissay, actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and host of The Repair Shop on TV Jay Blades.

What is Sir Lenny Henry’s involvement in the Festival of Libraries?

Sir Lenny Henry and his book for children The Boy With Wings will be fronting the festival’s Look For A Book campaign, which runs between 16 May and 22 May.

Copies of the book have been hidden all over the city-region and libraries will be releasing clues to the locations in the run-up to the book hunt.

Anyone who finds a copy or takes part in the event can then go to their local library to receive a certificate.

The lucky people who find the books also will be entered into a prize draw with the chance of attending a special event with the comedian and writer at a showcase author event on 18 June in Manchester city centre.

What has Sir Lenny said about being involved in the festival?

Sir Lenny said: “Copies of my book, The Boy With Wings, have been hidden across the whole of Greater Manchester as part of the Manchester Festival of Libraries – how exciting!

“The story’s an adventure about an ordinary kid who becomes an extraordinary hero, and you can be a hero too!

“Your mission is to find the clues at your local library, then keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, and you could find your very own book to keep and enjoy, but if not you’ll have lots of adventures along the way.

“Not only that, some lucky winners will be coming to see me at a special event, fingers crossed it could be you!

“I can’t wait to come to Manchester – you’ve got some pretty amazing libraries!”

Sir Lenny Henry

The Boy With Wings is Sir Lenny’s first venture into writing for young readers but in some ways brings his career full circle as he started out on children’s television.

Since then he has achieved success as a writer, philanthropist and award-winning actor.

He is also a co-founder of Comic Relief, a strong advocate for diversity and recently co-wrote the book Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond.

What else is going on at the Manchester Festival of Libraries?

Look For A Book is always one of the highlights of the festival but in total there are some 80 events taking place across the event, which runs from 15 June to 19 June.

The Inspired By strand of the festival includes a host of famous faces such as festival ambassador, poet and writer Lemn Sissay, acclaimed actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, TV presenter Jay Blades, author and podcaster Elizabeth Day, broadcaster Mike Sweeney, public historian, broadcaster, and author Greg Jenner and poets Jackie Kay and Elizabeth Reynolds.

Also on the programme are tours of the Manchester University and Bolton NHS Libraries, which are not normally open to the public and have book collections with highlights including the only entire hospital-based copy of the human

The festival, which is supported by Arts Council England, highlights the richness and diversity of the libraries in the city-region while celebrating the librarians who run the spaces, the people who make use of the services and the extraordinary stories that emerge from the everyday use of libraries.

Events across the programme cover wellbeing, culture and creativity, digital and information, and reading.

The full programme is available to view on the festival website here.