Books Alive!

Real Stories From Real People

Conversations about personal life experiences to challenge stigma and discrimination. Our inspirational volunteers become ‘living books’ to share their stories, and give you the opportunity to ask the questions you wouldn’t normally ask.

Books Alive! is an innovative project designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The main characteristics of the project are to be found in its simplicity and positive approach – a mobile collection of ‘Books’ where visitors are given the opportunity to speak informally with ‘people on loan’; where the ‘Books’ are people and reading is a conversation.

Books Alive! events can be held in public spaces, as part of conferences or team building events, with students or with any group of interested people. In 2019, Books Alive! was held bi-monthly at our Good Mental Health drop-in Cafe and has returned in 2020 at our Wellbeing Fayres! Most recently, our ‘living books’ visited Solent University and shared their experiences with students as part of a ‘Discovering Diversity’ event. The event was a huge success and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the students who described their Books Alive! experience as “unique”“powerful” and said, “I have learned the importance of seeing the person, not the diagnosis”

Books Alive! is delivered by our volunteers who all have personal experience of prejudice, stigma or discrimination. Each ‘living book’ chooses their own title, some regulars include ‘Bi-Polar’, ‘Post-Natal Depression’, ‘Transgendered’ and ‘Spendaholic’. We’re always looking for volunteers to join Books Alive! as ‘living books’ or as event helpers!

Would you like to have our Books Alive! stall at your own event, university or workplace? Are you interested in becoming a Books Alive! volunteer? Contact Carolyn Barber at or 02393 106 042.