Human Book 2018

WOMAD will be on 26th – 29th July 2018 and the Human Books event will be held in the Arboretum, from Friday lunchtime to Sunday evening. There are 42 Human Books this year. Here is the Booklist. Here is the Timetable.

Check out the World of Words page on the WOMAD website.

How does it work? What is a Human Book? What do the Librarians do?

Feedback from Readers from 2016.

Take a look around this blogsite for details of previous years and how it all worked. Katy

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How does it work?

Situated in the lovely World of Words area of the Arboretum at WOMAD you will find our Human Books. We have a selection of 42 humans, all of whom have encountered discrimination or some extraordinary situation in their lives.

You will be able to read a tantalising synopsis of their tale in our Booklist, check out when they are available and book them out with one of our expert Librarians. When your allocated borrowing period arrives you will be introduced to your human book and then you can choose where to converse. We have 3 beautiful furnished yurts available and beanbags dotted around in shade or sun.

You can chat about any aspect of the book and each session lasts 30 minutes. Oh & it’s all FREE. See this year’s booklist HERE.

There are 8 x 2 hour sessions during the festival, with 10 – 12 books normally available for each session. Come & see the whole timetable but note that we only take booking for the current or next session at any time (otherwise it gets booked up on Friday!).

choosing books

Choosing books

yurt chat 2yurt chatbeanbag chat

Wordle pic mashup

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The Human Book

The Book is someone who has encountered discrimination or an extraordinary happening in their lives. They write a 200 word description of their experience & this is collated in the Book Catalogue, and six of these sit on the table either side of the Human Books entrance. There are normally around 45 Books available over the weekend from Friday lunchtime to Sunday evening, in 8 different sessions.

The Books sit on the bookshelf waiting for Readers. The Librarians introduce Readers to Books at the beginning of each slot (four half-hour slots per session) & both Reader & Book choose where to sit to talk for half an hour. Each Book works for two 2-hour sessions (+ half an hour prep) but need to be flexible on sessions until the timetable is fixed.

We have 2 lovely yurts and places to sit outside under the trees in the Arboretum.

The bookshelf

Librarian with Book catalogue

Reader & Book

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The Librarian

The Librarian is the ‘front end’ of the event and is there to explain how everything works. When you arrive at the tables of the Human Books event the Librarian will be on hand. They will show you the book catalogues, which give a potted synopsis of each ‘Book’ available to borrow over the weekend. They will help you to choose a suitable book, explain when they are available & direct you to the Chief Librarian to make a booking.

The Chief Librarian takes charge over all the other Librarians and crucially holds the booking sheet for the session. They also time each session and send other Librarians to the yurts to warn readers that time is almost up! At the end of the session they ring the school bell & the Readers leave their Books & the Books go back to the shelf.

Books are generally read by only one Reader at a time, in exceptional circumstances the Librarian may allow for more, if the Book is happy to oblige.

Librarians introduce Readers to their Books at the beginning of each session. They act as greeters at the yurts, and sometimes as ‘pullers’, explaining to the thronging crowds why they should come & join in at our event. They change the booklist on the blackboard at the end of each session.

There are 12 Librarians in total, with 4 on duty at any given time.

Librarians helping with book choices

Librarian writing the sign

Chief Librarian

A pair of Librarians at work


Librarian with Book catalogue

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Feedback from 2016

This is such a fantastic idea, an amazing experience! Amazing to feel so connected to someone that was a stranger minutes before. Thank you so much, we will be back again!

Very interesting & thought provoking experience. As immersive as a book! Thank you.

I found it so powerful to have such an easy introduction to someone I would not normally get a chance to meet – to hear her story and to be able to ask questions. Such a generous gesture – to share brave stories from difficult times and we laughed and I shared my thoughts too. Time for a cuppa & some reflection! Ali

Today has got me one step closer to doing rather than thinking.

I felt honoured to listen & question.

Thank you – a lovely project & one to stimulate conversation of the best kind.

Another novel experience at Womad thankyou – arbitrary collision of thoughts in conversation. Great. Lucy

Really Great. What a good idea – feel energised and engaged with.

Very good conversation with a really interesting person. Amazing concept. I really enjoyed the discussion. Please get in touch to tell me where you are again.

This was a really interesting story – so much better than Wikipedia!!
The story was fascinating and told with passion.
I will hope his advice affects my life as much as it has affected his.
A big THANKYOU to WOMAD for making this possible & being here. Max Great to get rid of the barriers, would definitely read another book!

This human book thing is a marvelous idea! It should be at every festival and town centre.

It was a great experience. It is a very good concept to bring people together in a more deeper level..loved it. Keep up the good work

Never judge a book by its cover.
Everyone was really welcoming and fun to chat with. Simply Inspirational!


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WOMAD 2017

Yes, from the 27th – 30th July, the WOMAD Human Books event is ON! Check out the World of Words page on the WOMAD website and the Human Books page. Applications are now closed. Take a look around this blogsite for details of previous years and how it all works. Katy

Wordle pic mashup

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