Sydenham Arts looking to set new world record

Words on the Street will attempt to smash the world record. Pic: Sydenham Arts

Words on the Street will attempt to smash the world record. Pic: Sydenham Arts

Sydenham residents will be looking to set a new world record for the longest continuous trail of children’s books this Sunday.

Words on the Street, organised by local arts charity Sydenham Arts, will see volunteers lay over 5000 donated books along Sydenham high street, reaching more than half a mile from Kirkdale Bookshop to Sydenham Community Library.

With no current world record for the longest trail of children’s books, the attempt, estimated to reach an overall length of 0.7 miles, will be the first of it’s kind.

A spokesperson for Sydenham Arts told Eastlondonlines, Words on the Street will aim to celebrate reading and the Sydenham area.

“We want to celebrate reading and our wonderful high street in Sydenham by highlighting the leading literary centres Kirkdale Bookshop and Sydenham Community Centre.”

“Kirkdale Bookshop is probably the oldest independent bookshop in south east London and Sydenham Community Library was famously saved by local volunteers in 2011.”

Publishers, charity shops and EcoCommunities the local branch of Book Aid International, have joined together to contribute the books for the world-beating trail.

Independent witnesses to the record attempt, including Sir Steve Bullock, the Mayor of Lewisham, will decide whether the target distance has been successfully met, and the record will then be listed on Guinness’s official site.

Every book used will be donated to families with children, schools, libraries and charity shops after the event, an initiative Sydenham Arts hopes will “encourage more reading.”

The event forms part of The Sydenham Word Fair, a ten-day festival of books, reading, the spoken word and poetry, taking place around Sydenham from Thursday 5 to Sunday March 15.

Jonathan Kaufman, festival director at Sydenham Arts, said he hopes the fair will “establish Sydenham as one of London’s emerging creative and literary hubs.”

Special guests include ex-shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Alan Johnson MP for Hull West and Hessle, Chinese-British author Xiaolu Guo and writer, poet and arts coach Malika Booker are expected at the local literary celebration.


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