Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

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Our Book Bulletin for 2021

Iceland’s ‘Book Bulletin’ for Jolabokaflod at Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas, everyone – and happy Jolabokaflod for 24 December. We hope you received the books you wanted and are already deep in concentration, reading – lost in the worlds created by the writing on the page.

On the surface 2021 has been a second fallow year for Jolabokaflod CIC, due to lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. You will be glad to learn, however, that we have been hard at work at a deeper level out of the necessity to pivot. Here are some of the activities we initiated during the year.

Refuge in Literacy UK

In February 2021, our Founder (Christopher Norris) began to mentor children’s author Anne Stairmand about setting up a social enterprise to build on a generous gift she donated at Christmas 2020 when she gave 50 signed copies of her books to a local refuge centre. The strength of the positive reaction she received inspired her to make this connection more permanent.

We guided Anne on her journey to create a not-for-profit company called Refuge in Literacy UK with two meta goals:

  • Ensuring children in refuge own copies of books signed by their authors
  • Teaching parents how to support their children’s learning how to read successfully

Refuge in Literacy UK soft-launched in November 2021 with an in-person conference-style event to bring the CIC’s stakeholders together for the first time and to share the vision for the future.

At Christmas 2021, the company has a board of 10 people and is working to send more signed books to refuges, with around 30 authors in the scheme already. It is also creating reading prompts that will help parents read the books with their children.

Christopher has agreed to become a non-executive director of Refuge in Literacy UK in the New Year, advising on strategy and fundraising at the company’s biannual board meetings. The social enterprise is set to grow rapidly in 2022.

Theme of the month at Founders and Mentors

In October 2021 we were delighted to publish a month of themed content in The Creative Collective community at Founders and Mentors, the free-to-access platform that supports pre-launch founders, inventors and creatives with free mentoring to launch startups, inventions and creative projects more successfully. This content comprised information, polls, questions and a ‘call to action’ for member s to consider making Jolabokaflod part of the way they celebrate the festive season, whether or not they celebrate Christmas.

The Wisdom of Coffee

The month of promotion was backed up by the Wisdom of Coffee network, both at its eponymous Founders and Mentors community (The Wisdom of Coffee) and at its Meetup group (The Wisdom of Coffee), remaining members to get involved with the Jolabokaflod tradition.

Secret Santa with a twist

We ran a pilot scheme at Founders and Mentors to run a ‘Secret Santa’-style promotion with a Jolabokaflod flavour: Secret Jólasveinn

We invited members of the Founders and Mentors global network to participate in a scheme to buy and send a book of their choice to the person they selected at random ‘out of the Santa hat’. Seven members participated in the pilot.

Although this was a small group of people in the inaugural event, everyone enjoyed the activity as a way of engaging with each other and the wider Founders and Mentors community.

We shall scale up the Secret Jólasveinn project for Christmas 2022, so that everyone who wants to take part can do so, wherever they are in the world.

What’s next?

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is surging as we post this update. The future is unclear from this vantage point as to when everyone will be able to resume their lives unaffected by protocols imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. There are a few things, however, that we can predict with some degree of certainty:

  • The end of the pandemic is not currently in sight, especially if vaccines and other treatments are not shared globally by countries with the resources to do so
  • Life will be different for all of us once the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror
  • Our collective tastes and preferences may change in the light of our experience of living through a pandemic.

With so much unknown about the future, Jolabokaflod CIC will continue to stay agile in how we promote the ‘Christmas book flood’ tradition around the world. We have plenty of ideas in the pipeline, which we shall reveal and promote at the appropriate time – and as the pandemic allows.

Enough from us – now enjoy the rest of the festive season and go bury your head in a book.

Jolabokaflod CIC