World Book Night 2016 officially kicks off today in the UK and Ireland with the announcement of the 15 titles to be given away in 2016. This year sees a sensational and diverse line up of crime, poetry, non-fiction, Quick Reads, YA, historical fiction, and fiction in translation celebrating the enrichment that reading and books can bring to people's lives, especially the 36% of adults who do not read for pleasure.
The list for 2016 comprises of 15 books, including big-name authors such as Matt Haig, Jonathan Coe and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, as well as exciting new names like Holly Bourne and the debut novel by now-bestselling crime author Sarah Hilary. The list has been curated to reach specific audiences with different attitudes or approaches to reading, including adults and young people dealing with mental health issues (_Reasons to Stay Alive_ by Matt Haig and Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne) The Quick Reads title A Baby at the Beach Café by Lucy Diamond will be distributed to its target audience of vulnerable pregnant women and young mothers.
World Book Night 2016 falls on Saturday 23 April, Shakespeare's birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death. The World Book Night flagship event will take place at the British Library with appearances from authors and actors, and will celebrate Shakespeare's themes and language by making creative connections between the books on the list and Shakespeare's plays.
80% of recipients start reading more
Independent research company, Free Thought Research, found that in 2015 the receipt of a book on World Book Night translated into positive behavioural change around reading, particularly among those who never read or read infrequently before the event. 80% of those surveyed said they had read more since World Book Night and 85% said they'd talked to others about books more since receiving a book, while 47% of this group reported that they had bought more books since World Book Night, and 32% had borrowed more from the library.
In a new initiative for 2016 publishers will be encouraged to give out copies of their own stock on Friday 22 April within their neighbourhoods. This will increase the number of books being given away as part of the celebrations and highlights the unique opportunity World Book Night presents for givers to become better connected with their local communities.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, says:
"We are very happy to announce this exciting list of 15 books for World Book Night 2016. As a poetry lover myself, I'm delighted that we're able to include a stunning collection of poetry from Carol Ann Duffy. We also have compelling fiction for young adults as well as non-fiction titles and two Quick Reads. Quick Reads is now part of The Reading Agency and will make a great contribution to our ambition for World Book Night to start thousands of people on their reading journey.
"The fantastic evaluation results from 2015 prove what a life changing gift a book can be for those who don't regularly read. We are now once again calling for a huge team of volunteer givers to come forward and help share their love of reading with others. From the individuals who'll be gifting in their communities to organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, homeless shelters and more who'll get books to the most hard to reach, we want everyone to feel inspired to go out into the community as part of this huge, nationwide celebration and help to get more people reading more."
The 2016 titles
The titles for 2016 are:
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-Phillip Sendker (Birlinn)
Jonathan Coe, author of The Rotters' Club, says:
"I'm delighted to be part of World Book Night 2016. Reading is the best possible way to foster imagination, empathy and mutual understanding, and never have those qualities been more needed than at the present time."
S.J. Parris, author of Treachery, says:
"World Book Night does such a fantastic job of sharing the joy of reading so I'm thrilled to be taking part next year, especially as it will be a very special commemoration of Shakespeare's anniversary. My novels come from a love of stories and of Tudor history, and I'm excited to have the chance to share both with new readers on 23 April."
Holly Bourne, author of Am I Normal?, says:
"I am totally stunned and yet epically delighted to be part of World Book Night. It's such an incredible event and I can't believe Am I Normal Yet? is going to be part of it. Hopefully it will get people excited about reading and feminism - my two favourite things!"
The book giving 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 29 January 2016 and we'll inform successful applicants by 26 February 2016.