Benjamin Zephaniah, Jess Philips, Mark Billingham and other famous faces support My Birmingham Story

03 May 2021
My Birmingham Story banner

People across Birmingham are invited to share their stories and celebrate the history and experiences of communities across the city.

To celebrate National Share a Story Month in May, the National Literacy Trust is launching My Birmingham Story, a campaign that invites people from Birmingham to share their experiences and memories of life in the city. A host of influential people who have lived, studied or worked in the city will be sharing their memories and encouraging others to do the same.

The National Literacy Trust’s local campaign Birmingham Stories runs in partnership with the University of Birmingham and focuses on empathy spread through digital storytelling.

One famous local who has already shared his story is author and Birmingham University alumni Mark Billingham who chats about his memories of visiting Kings Heath Library as a child. He references his love of music and record shops in the city including Reddingtons Rare Records and Cyclops, a shop he once slept outside to be first in line to grab gig tickets.

Jess Phillips tells of her time campaigning to become the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley and the importance of community, while Benjamin Zephaniah remembers discovering he is dyslexic when attending adult education classes.

Other contributors include local author Rachel Wong, The Dean of Birmingham, The Very Reverend Matt Thompson and players from Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

Videos and written stories will be uploaded weekly to an online gallery as well as the Birmingham Stories Instagram page.

Anyone with a link to Birmingham, whether current or historical, can take part in the campaign by sharing their story, in either video or written format on social media and using the hashtag #MyBirminghamStory.

Dr. Ruth Gilligan, novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing said: “Changing the life stories of young people in Birmingham has always been the aim behind this project. By focusing on empathy through storytelling, those listening and sharing stories can become not only better readers and writers, but also develop a greater understanding of other communities in their city.”

Gaganpreet Kaur Basra, Birmingham Hub Manager said: “I am delighted to officially launch My Birmingham Story and bring together people from all different walks of life to share their experiences of the city. I hope that by hearing from role models in various communities across Birmingham young people will feel inspired to engage with their emotions and share their stories. I can’t wait to hear them!”

My Birmingham Story is created by Birmingham Stories, a campaign launched by the National Literacy Trust and the University of Birmingham, working together to raise literacy levels and change the life stories of young people and adults across the city.