Media release: Literacy charity holds virtual book launch


TODAY (Monday 28 September), Stephen Fry, Rory Bremner, Alexander McCall Smith, Bill Paterson and John Byrne have all volunteered to help Edinburgh-based literacy charity, The Super Power Agency (SPA), stage what is understood to be Scotland’s biggest virtual book launch.

Along with many other celebrities and volunteers, they will be reading a selection of the stories in nine publications (four books, three ‘chapbooks’, one magazine and one virtual book) produced in the last school year by 450 pupils at the workshops the SPA ran in three primary and three secondary schools in the capital.

Normally, the SPA holds book launches in the contributing schools, but with COVID-19 making that impossible, in June the charity decided to go for a virtual book launch for its record number of debut authors.

Over the summer, the charity put out the call for help, also enlisting the aid of actors like Russell Tovey (Years and Years), Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners), and Louisa Harland (Derry Girls); comedians like Greg McHugh, writers Alexander McCall Smith, Sara Sheridan, and Elizabeth Day, and artists like John Bryne as well as SPA volunteers. In all, 34 readers videoed themselves reading 100 stories chosen from the nine books.

“We are so grateful to all of the readers who were willing to participate and took such care in reading the stories by our young writers,” said Gerald Richards, CEO of the Super Power Agency.

“The 450 young writers put their hearts and souls into the stories they wrote and since we can’t have our usual book launch parties, we think this is a great way to celebrate their success as newly-published authors.”

The participating schools included Leith Academy, Broughton High School, Drummond Community High School and P7 pupils at Trinity Primary, Victoria Primary and Wardie Primary.

The virtual book launch will continue for several weeks with videos launching on

The books can be purchased on the SPA’s website: and in Edinburgh bookshops.

Readers include:

Actors: Stephen Fry; Russell Tovey, Bill Paterson, Simon Bird, Lisa McGrillis, Laura Aikman, Alastair Mackenzie, Matt Kennard, Allegra Marland, Calvin Demba, and Louisa Harland

Authors: Alexander McCall Smith, Sara Sheridan, Elizabeth Day, Jemma Neville, and Alastair Chisholm.

Comedians: Rory Bremner, Lynn Ferguson, Mike Wozniak, and Greg McHugh.

Other notables: John Byrne – artist; Cambridge Jones – photographer; Jay Lafferty – playwright; Adrian Mead – film director; Benny Higgins – financial executive; Calum Beattie – singer/songwriter; Shaun Keaveny – broadcaster.

SPA volunteers: Sian Bevan, David Robinson, David Woods, Jo Schaab, Izzy Chappell, and Isabelle Sher.

For further information/interviews/images, contact:

Fiona Duff – 07710 419762 /

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