World Book Night 2015 officially kicks off today in the UK and Ireland with the announcement of the 20 titles for 2015. This year sees a sensational and diverse line up of crime, poetry, non-fiction, Quick Reads, fantasy, sci-fi, historical and contemporary fiction, and fiction in translation celebrating the enrichment that reading and books can bring to people's lives, especially the 35% of the population who do not read for pleasure.
The books selected for World Book Night 2015 offer a true wealth of choice for volunteers and recipients alike. 1993 Booker Prize (now Man Booker) winner and celebrated screenwriter Roddy Doyle is brought to a new audience through World Book Night as his first Quick Read title, Dead Man Talking, appears on the list this year.
World Book Night brings new writing to new readers in 2015 with debut authors Andy Weir with The Martian, Mary Gibson with her novel Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts and Swedish husband-and-wife crime writing duo Cilla and Rolf Börjlind. Also appearing on the list are bestselling favourites from the leading lights of the literary scene, including Lynda La Plante's Prime Suspect, David Almond's Skellig, popular TV and radio personality Karl Pilkington's comedy, The Moaning of Life, and Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
Volunteering and social action
World Book Night's ongoing aim is to shine a light on volunteering and social action; individuals, institutions and organisations are encouraged to share their love of reading, to inspire others to read and to create a mass participatory celebration of reading on 23 April, UNESCO International Day of the Book. As well as gifting the books specially produced by publishers and World Book Night, volunteers are encouraged to give away their own books on 23 April, either bought new or taken from their shelves.
Following World Book Night 2014, we conducted a survey of World Book Night volunteers who had the chance to suggest the title they would most like to give away as part of the programme. Rachel Joyce's bestselling The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been selected from the volunteers' picks to be a title for 2015, in recognition of the inspiring work of the World Book Night volunteers who champion reading for pleasure through social action in their communities.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, says:
We are thrilled to announce this varied and exciting list of 20 books for World Book Night 2015. I'm personally delighted as lots of my old favourites are here, including Skellig, and I'm over the moon that we have a poetry title on the list this year. We are now calling for a huge team of volunteer givers who will feel inspired to go out into the community on World Book Night and share their love of reading. Through this remarkable mass celebration of reading on 23 April, we hope that people who receive a World Book Night book will begin their reading journey as we seek to create a reading nation.
The 2015 titles
The titles for 2015 are:
1. After the Fall by Charity Norman (Allen and Unwin)
2. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton (Constable, Little, Brown)
3. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (HarperCollins)
4. Chickenfeed by Minette Walters (Quick Read) (Pan Macmillan)
5. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson (Head of Zeus)
6. Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle (Quick Read) (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
7. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Pan Macmillan)
8. Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, Neil Astley (ed.) (Bloodaxe)
9. Honour by Elif Shafak (Penguin General, Penguin Random House)
10. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Orion / Hachette Children's)
11. Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante (Simon & Schuster)
12. Queen's Gambit by Liz Fremantle (Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House)
13. Skellig by David Almond (Hachette Children's)
14. Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind (Hesperus)
15. Street Cat Bob by James Bowen (Quick Read) (Hodder)
16. The Martian by Andy Weir (Ebury, Penguin Random House)
17. The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington (Canongate)
18. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Transworld, Penguin Random House)
19. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Two Roads, John Murray)
20. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman (Headline)
The World Book Night list has been carefully curated with a view to offering a broad range of brilliant books to appeal to and inspire an equally broad range of people who aren't yet regular readers. As well as brilliant pieces of fiction and non-fiction, the list offers a diverse range of genres including two YA titles, an anthology of poetry, a sci-fi novel; the first in a series of fantasy novels, historical fiction, fiction in translation, crime and three Quick Reads.
Partners and supporters
As in previous years, World Book Night is collaborating with publishers, including independent houses Allen and Unwin, Bloodaxe, Hesperus, Head of Zeus and Canongate, and a series of dedicated and passionate partners and supporters who are committed to this worldwide celebration of books and reading and without whom World Book Night would not be possible.
The Booker Prize Foundation is supporting World Book Night for the first time this year with Roddy Doyle's Quick Read title, as part of the Foundation's commitment to building the bridge between literature and literacy. Poetry anthology Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy is included in the list thanks to the support of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Forward Arts Foundation, and marks the first time that a poetry book has been included in the list since World Book Night's first year. The BBC has been involved with World Book Night since its inception and will once again be the official media partner for 2015.
World Book Night delivery partner Yodel provides the vital service of distributing the World Book Night books to every corner of the UK and Ireland. Dick Stead, executive chairman at Yodel, comments:
We're delighted to be lending our support to World Book Night as delivery partner for a third year running. It's such a great initiative, and we're proud to be helping people across the British Isles to develop or rediscover their love of reading.
The application process is now officially open, and we're calling for members of the public to apply to be a volunteer through the World Book Night website. Applications will close on 30 January 2015 and successful applicants will be informed by 27 February.
It was great to receive lots of positive feedback from publishers, authors, libraries and volunteers after the list was announced. See how the day unfolded on social media in our Storify.