World Book Night is on 23rd April each year, this being the date of William Shakespeare’s birth and his death.
World Book Night also links to the day of the death of Cervantes (author of Don Quixote), Spain’s literary hero, St. George’s Day and UNESCO’s Day of the Book (which I think is a fantastic title).
Fifteen books are chosen from different genres, including non-fiction. The books are given away by World Book Night volunteers. If a free book doesn’t entice you…
According to the World Book Night Press Release, 187,500 copies of the 15 especially printed World Book Night titles will be given away by a huge network of volunteers. The idea is to reach the 36% of the population who don’t read for pleasure.
That, to me, is a huge percentage of people missing out on something that is a joy, is good for the brain and can inspire your own creativity. (Where do writers get the urge to write from? From their own love of stories they’ve read sparking the wish to create their own. Shakespeare used other authors as a starting point for many of his creations and if that is good enough for him, I guess it is good enough for the rest of us!).
The press release also reveals that, since it began in 2011, World Book Night has, thanks to 56,000 volunteers, given books away to over 2.25 million people.
As well as the World Book Night volunteers, people will also be encouraged to give their favourite book to someone in their community. Special events took place at libraries, community centres, prisons, hospitals and schools around the UK in this mass celebration of books and reading.
One special event involved one of our independent book shops at Lee on Solent and our own Richard Hardie, but more of that a little later.
The 15 titles chosen for the 2016 World Book Night were:
1. Am I Normal Yet?, Holly Bourne (Usborne)
2. Band of Brothers, Stephen E Ambrose (Simon & Schuster)
3. I Can’t Begin to Tell You, Elizabeth Buchan (Michael Joseph)
4. Last Bus to Coffeeville, J. Paul Henderson (Oldcastle)
5. Love Poems, Carol Ann Duffy (Pan Macmillan)
6. Now You See Me, Sharon Bolton (Transworld)
7. Perfect Daughter, Amanda Prowse (Head of Zeus)
8. Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig (Canongate)
9. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo (Hachette Children’s)
10. Someone Else’s Skin, Sarah Hilary (Headline)
11. The Baby at the Beach Café (Quick Read), Lucy Diamond (Pan Macmillan)
12. The Rotters’ Club, Jonathan Coe (Penguin General)
13. Too Good to be True (Quick Read), Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan)
14. Treachery, S. J. Parris (HarperCollins)
15. Whispering Shadows, Jan-Philipp Sendker (Birlinn)
I don’t know about you but there are several books in that list which would appeal to me based on the title alone.
Publishers submit titles to be considered for selection for World Book Night, whose editorial committee decides on the fifteen books. That committee is made of experts from both the literacy and literary worlds.
The Reading Agency is an independent charity aiming to bring the joy of reading to the widest possible audiences across the UK, in partnership with the public library service. World Book Night is supported by various bodies including the British Library, the BBC, the Publishers’ Association, the Booksellers’ Association of UK and Ireland and the Society of Chief Librarians amongst others.
And this year’s event was pretty special given it tied in with the 400th anniversary of the date of William Shakespeare’s death. In London on 19th April World Book Night held a Read to the Bard event where people were invited to share passages from their favourite books and plays. And we owe so many sayings to Shakespeare.
Understandably Shakespeare is our most celebrated writer and rightly so. From his sonnets to his tragedies, from his comedies to his histories, there has to be at least one play that would suit most tastes.
I must admit I am intrigued by why he left Anne Hathaway (his wife, not the actress!) his second best bed. Who got the best bed?! What did his wife make of this bequest? (I would guess at “not much”!).
All sorts of events have been held to commemorate the Bard of Avon and/or World Book Night. Prince Charles went to visit Stratford-upon-Avon and there have been a wealth of programmes on the BBC tying in with the Bard.
I also liked the idea of a “bunch of Hamlets” – David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on the same stage for this.
I think Shakespeare is meant to be watched or listened to rather than read directly (the sonnets being the exception) but his breadth of storytelling is fantastic. How many could come up with something tragic and awesome like Hamlet and also be able to write something lighter, As You Like It, being one example?
Authors Reach – Richard Hardie
Richard Hardie, as part of Authors Reach, was celebrating with his fellow AR authors at The Book Shop, Lee-on-Solent. Many thanks to Richard for sharing the following.
Once again Rick Barter, owner of The Book Shop in Lee-on-the-Solent, opened the doors of his independent shop to all-comers to celebrate World Book Night.
Usually Rick invites a small number of local authors to meet and greet his customers, but this year he invited the 5 authors who make up the newly formed Authors Reach writer cooperative.
Shani Struthers from Brighton, Gena Dickerson from East Kent and Richard Hardie from Chandlers Ford had a wonderful time eating the tasty nibbles supplied by Rick, as well as chatting to people about our new publishing venture and signing books.
Rick Barter’s shop is one of only 14 independent book shops in the whole of Hampshire and like all national and local treasures it needs all the support we can give it, or we could end up with one massive chain of shops dictating what we should read and an online book provider giving us little or no opportunity to browse.
Many thanks, Rick for a fantastic and most enjoyable evening!
I just love the idea of having a special night to encourage those who do not already share the joy of reading for pleasure to have their “eyes opened” to the wonderful world of literature and to join right in with it!
I hope all who did join in with World Book Night had a wonderful time. I hope people are now reading who might not otherwise have done so and go on to develop their own life time love of books.
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