Richard was inspired to read as a child by his dear old nan. As a child, he visited her in Totton near Southampton. They would then often walk to Totton over the railway bridge to a second-hand bookshop on Rumbridge Street. For Richard, it was like the shop in Mr Benn, a magical place, but one that was filled to the rafters with books. After visiting the magical bookshop, Richard's nan would read to him, or he would read to her. So the idea of the Derwent Valley Book Festival can be found right there in his childhood.
Now that he is 50, Richard lives in the beautiful north east of England, and he is especially fond of the wonderful landscapes and the history of the Derwent Valley. Richard was delighted to find another magical bookshop in his new region: Barter Books in Alnwick. He is especially fond of Barter Books because his daughter, a wheelchair-user, was able to lose herself among the books in much the same way Richard did as a child.
Barrie is an English teacher by trade and now travels the country with The Punctuation Show - singing songs about SPAG and reading skills.
Barrie's main passion for reading comes in the form of Graphic Novels (comics to non-geeks) and he grew up on a healthy diet of Marvel's finest heroes.
Despite a degree in English Literature, comics are still the main passion and Barrie maintains his 'Marvel Unlimited subscription to this very day.
Barrie has two young daughters who also have a love of reading; he believes it's important that society values literacy.
The Free Books project operates as an unregistered charity. Currently no money changes hands and no data is collected or stored.
We operate under the umbrella of The Leadgate Task Force and in association with the Derwent Valley Litfest.
Our vision is to work with schools and other educational establishments in order to ensure that no household is book free.