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Founder of Big Issue unveils new magazine to combat illiteracy

Founder of Big Issue unveils new magazine to combat illiteracy

Thursday 06 June 2019

John Bird, the founder of the well known ‘Big Issue’ magazine is looking to help improve literacy rates through the launch of his new publication the ‘Chapter Catcher’. It is nearly 30 years since the first edition of The Big Issue was published. The magazine has been a great success in helping the homeless and John hopes to replicate this success with the Chapter Catcher.

The aim of the Chapter Catcher is to ‘promote greater reading, deeper reading, better reading and reading for the pure joy of it’. The magazine takes both a simplistic but also random format as according to John we don’t learn by reading what we know or what makes us comfortable but reading something we’re not accustomed to.

The Chapter Catcher is broken into 5 segments: contemporary, rediscovered, classics, non-fiction and in process. Each segment contains many different chapters with a wide range of works from a number of different authors. John believes the variety of works means that you can find something to suit you and you can therefore use the magazine as way of ‘road testing your reading’. The last section ‘in process’ is the section with the most potential. This section is where both published and unpublished writers will be able to submit their work including unfinished work that they are looking to gain feedback upon.

The Chapter Catcher has been set up as a social enterprise, which John also did with the Big Issue. Issues of the magazine will be sent to every single prison in the country for free. Charities will also receive a 50/50 split on all sales of the magazine. John hopes that the magazine will be seen as a ‘community bag’ with non-profit organisations putting in their own inserts and material within the envelopes of the magazine.

John doesn’t want to just stop there on his mission to tackle illiteracy. He also has plans for a version of the magazine for kids, an edition coming out every 2 months instead of every 3 months and an email that people can subscribe to in order to receive free stories. There will also be a reader-friendly website created and a national network of reading support groups.


  1. Big Issues Founder launches magazine to tackle illiteracy.

  2. The Chapter Catcher .


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