Our response to Covid-19

We know that in difficult times people have turned to books — to inform, entertain, escape, and comfort. The nature of this particular crisis, with country-wide self-isolation and school closures, means books are needed more than ever to provide mental stimulation, company and comfort.

As a company we are responding to this crisis in a number of different ways. Find out more below.

Distributing free books to communities most affected by the crisis

With the help of community platform Neighbourly we are distributing thousands of books through a national network of foodbanks and community causes that deliver food parcels to people’s homes, as well as grassroots groups that support older people facing social isolation. 

We are also partnering with Hospital Radio and National Prison Radio to broadcast free audiobooks to patients in NHS hospitals and people in prison across the UK. 

Streaming our authors live to students at home and at school

Penguin Talks, in partnership with Speakers for School, is a programme of free creative talks for young people across the UK and Ireland, giving them the opportunity to both hear from and directly question a world-renowned thinker, writer or influential figure from our family of authors. 

We have also created a new Penguin Talks teaching resource hub for secondary school teachers which include a range of free teaching resources linked to the PSHE (Personal Social Health Education) curriculum.

In response to Covid-19 we have launched a Virtual Penguin Talks series which will focus on issues which matter most to young people right now, including how to manage anxiety and how prepare for the future world of work

Supporting parents with younger children

Ladybird and Puffin Schools are providing free resources and content to support home learning for primary school children. We’re also making resources and videos easily accessible to partners such as not-for-profits like The National Literacy Trust, as well as organisations such as the BBC, Peanut and Twinkl to widen reach.

Match-funding donations in support of independent booksellers

Independent bookshops are at the heart of communities across the country and need our support now more than ever. That’s why we’ve pledged to match — £1 for £1 — any donations to this fundraiser supporting booksellers affected by Covid-19, up to £50,000.

We also donated a further £10,000 to the fundraiser alongside the publication of Penguin Perspectives: a series of essays from some of our leading authors, offering their response to the Covid-19 pandemic and imagining what the world might look like when we emerge on the other side.

Continuing our efforts to find a new generation of talented writers and storytellers

We are maintaining our commitment to WriteNow, our flagship programme to find, nurture and publish voices from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves. The programme remains open and we will hold a digital workshop for 150 successful applicants in July to learn more about how to get published.

Connecting our authors and readers, from afar

At Home With Penguin is a weekly peek into the homes of some of our most loved authors: giving readers a chance connect with some of our most loved authors in their kitchens, studies and living rooms. From Marian Keyes to Anthony Horowitz, Bernardine Evaristo, Tim Peake and Dolly Alderton, our guest authors invite us into their homes to share how they’re spending their time, talk about the books they are turning to, and take questions from readers.

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