Just today I received an email to advise me that very soon I’ll be able to go and collect my choice of book to give this coming World Book Night – Little Face by Sophie Hannah.
And then, with a resounding second excitable ‘ping’ the following press release arrived – it’s all shaping up to be another great night of celebration of the written word and the chance to once again share the joy of reading.
…World Book Night events deliver on 23rd April 2013
On 23rd April 2013 something magical will take place across the country, as the ‘World Book Night Experience’ plays out. Complete strangers will become friends, colleagues will pause and reflect, libraries and bookshops will go the extra mile to ‘stay up late’, and authors of all genres will share their writings and love of the written word with audiences of all ages.
Now in its third year, World Book Night is a celebration of generosity, passion, participation and inclusion, known as the ‘World Book Night Experience’. On 23rd April – UNESCO’s International Day of the Book – many experiences will unfold simultaneously across the UK, the USA and Ireland. With major UK events in Liverpool, London, Edinburgh and beyond, a host of world-renowned writers have given their time – and their books – to inspire regular readers to harness their role as World Book Night ‘Givers’ and help spread a love of reading.
World Book Night’s flagship event will this year be held in Liverpool, where bestselling authors Frank Cottrell Boyce, Jasper Fforde, Philippa Gregory, Jackie Kay, Patrick Ness and Jeanette Winterson take part in a series of free, themed literary sessions at St George’s Hall and the brand new Liverpool Central Library, in association with Liverpool City Council and the BBC. The event features an impromptu Speakers’ Corner, a Book Exchange, Poetry Waiters, a Literary-themed Café and much more.
The second major event will be held at London’s Southbank Centre where World Book Night host Hardeep Singh Kohli will present a glorious night of readings designed to enlighten and entertain, by authors, poets and performers including Sebastian Barry, Tracy Chevalier, Charles Dance, Sarah Dunant, Victoria Hislop, Andrew Motion, Jojo Moyes, Alice Oswald, Elif Shafak, Lemn Sissay, Rupert Thomson and Rose Tremain.
And at Edinburgh Central Library, guests will be treated to thrilling thoughts on writing with No.1 Ladies Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith, and a reading by BAFTA-nominated novelist and playwright Lesley Glaister, in conversation with Peggy Hughes (City of Literature).
Jackie Kay, performing in Liverpool, comments: “World Book night strips everything away to the bare essential: the good hearted feeling of a book in your hand, a companion by your side, the best of friends on your road through life.”
Rose Tremain, taking part in London, says: “Lev, the protagonist of THE ROAD HOME, (my novel chosen to join the list of World Book Night titles), has read very few books in his arduous life as a sawmill worker in Eastern Europe. When he comes to England, he’s given a copy of Hamlet by his friend Lydia, whose pedagogical instincts dictate that she work to ‘improve’ his mind. Hamlet is of course way too difficult for a man who has difficulty distinguishing ‘to be or not to be’ from ‘B & B’, but he struggles on with it and eventually finds some affinity with the anguished prince of Denmark. The reading plays a part in opening up and transforming Lev’s life. And this we know from voices around the world: books can transform lives. So let’s hope World Book Night will act as a kind of benign Ponzi scheme for the mighty word.”
Alexander McCall Smith, appearing in Edinburgh, says: “In a world that sometimes seems over-burdened with conflict, World Book Night stands out as a precious beacon. It has two messages: one is that reading is sheer joy and the other is that the act of giving is intrinsically good. I hope this tradition goes on as long as books are made and read.”
World Book Night partner, The Reading Agency, is delighted with the huge efforts libraries have made to be involved again this year, with many authors supporting libraries in hundreds of locations around the country.
Independent charity The Reading Agency has coordinated the input of 2176 libraries across the UK, and supported the creation of a fantastic range of events, including supermarket visits by Amanda Smyth and Mez Parker with Coventry Mobile Library; Jessica Fox supporting Dumfries and Galloway’s Libraries Hit the High Street event; and Miranda Dickinson in Dudley.
Other major library events include Sophie Hannah in Cambridge; Melvin Burgess in Bristol as part of the city’s Britain Writing: Bristol Writing programme; Blake Morrison at a newly refurbished Lewisham Library; an evening of exclusive talks, book giveaways and live music for BookAid featuring Beverley Naidoo, James Mayhew, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst and comedian Natalie Haynes at Canada Water Library Southwark; an Evening of Crime with S J Bolton in Peterborough; Ann Cleeves’ Murder Mystery Evening in Maidstone; Treasure Island themed fun in Gloucestershire; a World Book Night ‘20 books’ inspired pop-up film festival in Tameside; and in the Outer Hebrides books will be transported by Mail Bus, Aeroplane and Ferry to the furthest reaches of the islands, thanks to the dedicated efforts of staff at Lionacleit Library.
Giver applications for World Book Night 2013 hit an all-time high: 23,655 people volunteered to be part of the Experience on April 23rd and from the 20,000 people confirmed as Givers, 54% chose to be involved for the first time. 58% of Givers have chosen to collect their books from a local library.
Also a first this year, World Book Night introduced an application strand for charitable giving enabling more than 2,500 organisations to get books to the hardest to reach sections of society, including 90% of the prison network. 100,000 of the 500,000 books allocated have been ring-fenced for charitable and institutional giving and will be distributed in a host of venues including hospitals, shelters, care homes, community centres and prisons.
World Book Night CEO, Julia Kingsford comments: “From the smallest communities in the Highlands to those in our largest metropolitan centres, World Book Night has an incredible power to unite people from across society. It is amazing to see the passion of the people who come together to share in World Book Night and spread their love of reading.”
Director of The Reading Agency, Miranda McKearney, says: “Where better than your library to celebrate the awesome power of books to connect us to each other? Libraries’ precious presence at the heart of our communities makes us a civilised society and we’re working hard to make sure local people get the chance to experience the excitement of World Book Night in their library.”
This year’s titles are more varied than ever. Prize winners, bestsellers, classic tales, contemporary crime, quick reads and even a graphic novel – there is something for everyone, no matter what their interest or reading ability.
· The twenty World Book Night 2013 titles are:
1. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber)
2. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (RHCB)
3. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (HarperCollins)
4. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (Hodder)
5. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (Vintage)
6. A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich (Yale)
7. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (Simon & Schuster)
8. Little Face by Sophie Hannah (Hodder)
9. Damage by Josephine Hart (Virago)
10. The Island by Victoria Hislop (Headline)
11. Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay (Picador)
12. Last Night Another Soldier… by Andy McNab (Transworld)
13. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Penguin)
14. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Walker)
15. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (Orion)
16. No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Little, Brown)
17. Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson (Penguin)
18. The Road Home by Rose Tremain (Vintage)
19. Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges by John Wagner (Rebellion)
20. Why be Happy When You Could be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (Vintage)