The act and history of writing comes to Wakefield Library

24/04/2019, PR-9042B

Oldest written item at British Library
Oldest written item at British Library (c) Tony Antoniou

The extraordinary story behind one of humanity's greatest achievements will be unveiled at Wakefield Library as part of a simultaneous launch at more than 20 libraries around the UK.

The exhibition, on the act and history of writing, will go on display from 26 April in tandem with the opening of Writing: Making Your Mark at the British Library in London.

The free exhibition, which will run in Wakefield until 27 August 2019, showcases the remarkable 5,000-year evolution of writing, spanning five continents.

It will display the development of writing from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone and early printed text such as William Caxton's edition of The Canterbury Tales to the art of note-taking by some of history's greatest minds, and onwards to the digital communication tools that are used today. Local and regional work will also be on display.

This family-oriented exhibition will not only deconstruct the act of writing but will also consider its future in the digital age.

There will be a number of events including an interactive learning trail, enabling visitors of all ages to engage in the Living Knowledge Network nationwide conversation on the act of writing.

Diamond Sutra, world's earliest complete survival of a dated printed book (868 AD)
Diamond Sutra, world's earliest complete survival of a dated printed book (868 AD) (c) British Library Board

Julie Russell, Service Director for Arts, Culture and Leisure at Wakefield Council, said: "Wakefield Libraries are excited to be working with the British Library Living Knowledge Network to bring this fascinating exhibition to the district. Writing: Making Your Mark invites visitors to discover the history of writing, to think about its future and to take part in a range of free events and activities to develop their own skills ranging from a printing workshop to author events and an opportunity to have a go on a traditional manual typewriter".

Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian at the British Library, said: "The Living Knowledge Network is a unique partnership of national and public libraries united by a shared vision to bring knowledge alive for everyone and we are delighted to be working with 22 libraries across the UK to share the British Library's exhibition, Writing: Making Your Mark.  We are looking forward to building on the success of the first Living Knowledge Network display, which was based on the British Library's Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition and welcomed over 775,000 visitors between 2017 and 2018."