First West of England teamed up with top crime author Ann Cleeves for two days of writers’ workshops and reading groups
The event was hosted by St James’ Priory, in Bristol, and aimed at First Bus staff and relatives as part of the organisation’s staff learning programme. They were joined by local librarians as Ann is a passionate champion of libraries and was a National Libraries Day Ambassador in 2016.
Ann is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels and, in 2017, was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez who can now be found on television in ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland.
Bus driver Louise Guy, regional learning coordinator of the First Bus/Unite learning partnership, is the driving force behind the event. She approached Ann at a book signing, taking advantage of the fact that she works with Ann's nephew but says she was still surprised when the author said she would give up her time to host the event.
Louise said: “Ann is interested in promoting reading as a creative and important activity as well as encouraging writers from more diverse backgrounds. We were really privileged to have her spend two days with us in such a lovely venue.”
The event also saw the launch of a short story competition for First Bus staff and their families.
St James Priory is based at Bristol’s oldest building and has been supporting people with addictions and histories of homelessness since 1992.