A stellar cast of much-loved authors including Lynda La Plante, David Almond, Elif Shafak, Sarah Winman, Elizabeth Fremantle and Annabel Pitcher have so far been confirmed to headline our World Book Night flagship event in London on 23 April 2015.
In a glittering celebration of reading and the written word, the fifth anniversary event will take place at the Shaw Theatre in central London, and brings together an impressive line-up of authors and figures from the World Book Night list and beyond to discuss their reading journey; the books that have shaped them and which they would like to share on World Book Night. Now run by national charity The Reading Agency, World Book Night's flagship London event is a brilliant opportunity to enact the charity's core values in one exciting and enlivening evening: to inspire more people to read more, encourage them to share their enjoyment of reading with others and celebrate the difference that reading makes to all of our lives.
Events at local libraries
In addition to the event in London, World Book Night will host high-profile regional events at public libraries nationwide. The events include 2015 World Book Night author Mary Gibson who will be talking about her much loved novel Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts at Blackburn Library and previous World Book Night author Alexander McCall Smith in conversation with The Scotsman at Edinburgh Central Library; 2014 Not the Booker Prize winner, Simon Sylvester will be giving a talk at Kendal Library in Cumbria; author of The Temporary Bride, Jennifer Klinec, tells how she abandoned a corporate job to launch a cookery school from her London flat at Gateshead Central Library; the husband and daughter of Call the Midwife author Jennifer Worth will talk about her and the books on which the popular TV series is based at Royston Library in Hertfordshire; and in London Fulham Library will host Big Issue Magazine co-founder John Bird, Kensington Library will host a talk by Lucinda Hawksley on Dickens and poverty, Southwark library service will be giving out 2015 World Book Night titles across the borough and acclaimed author Stella Duffy will be appearing at Woolwich Library in Greenwich.
Elsewhere Manchester Libraries and After Dark Entertainment present Scary Tale Murder Mystery: Into The Words; at Newcastle Library Casting the Runes present a drama performance based on books by M. R. James and, also in the north east, acclaimed crime writer Mari Hannah talks about her latest Kate Daniels novel Killing for Keeps at Blythe Library; up-and-coming author Robert Williams will be at Ponteland Library in Wales, there is story-telling at Oban library in Scotland and Michael Stewart , author of Café Assassin at Rochdale Library. In the east of England, Sharon Bolton will be discussing her latest psychological thriller at Stevenage Library.
Volunteering and own book giving
For its fifth year, World Book Night 2015 will once again be celebrated on 23 April, UNESCO International Day of the Book and the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare. 12,500 copies of 20 specially printed World Book Night titles, totalling 250,000 books, will be given by a network of volunteer reading enthusiasts and institutions focusing on reaching the 35% of the population who don't read for
pleasure. 10,000 volunteers will give out the books in their communities, 7,300 individuals will each give a box of 18 copies of one of the titles and 2,700 institutions including prisons, libraries, colleges, schools and homeless shelters will each be giving multiple sets of books.
There will be a renewed focus on volunteering, both by individuals and in institutions, and this year World Book Night is asking everyone to share the book that would inspire reluctant readers to begin their reading journey. World Book Night authors and other public figures will spearhead the reading journey campaign on social media, telling us about the book that first turned them on to reading and how reading has shaped them using the hashtag #readingjourney. The World Book Night 2015 list covers a range of genres including crime, poetry, non-fiction, Quick Reads, fantasy and sci-fi, historical and contemporary fiction, and fiction in translation.
The Reading Agency will continue to develop a new strand of gifting, introduced last year, whereby volunteers will choose and buy books to give out; this will widen the opportunity for volunteer participation further than ever before, allowing even more people to spread a love of reading to those who don't normally read for pleasure or own books. This means that anyone can take part in the annual gifting of books on 23 April without applying to give away copies of the official books donated by publishers for the occasion; they will be responsible for giving their own book, either taking it from their book shelves, or buying it new or second-hand.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, says:
World Book Night is one of the highlights of the year for The Reading Agency and for all our partners; this year it promises to be more exciting than ever. Everything we do us is designed to inspire more people to read more and to encourage them to share their love of reading with others. On the night thousands of people are giving away the books generously gifted by our publisher partners and distributed across the whole of the UK by Yodel. Their goal is to reach the 35% of the population who don't currently read for pleasure and to start them on their reading journey. World Book Night's flagship London event features some of our finest authors talking about their own reading journey: the books which changed their lives, shaped their imagination and excited their curiosity. We hope that this, together with the events taking place in libraries across the UK, will ensure that 23 April is an evening we will all long remember; the night when many more people realise that everything changes when we read.
Quotes from World Book Night 2015 authors
David Almond, author of Skellig:
I'm really pleased that one of my books is to be part of World Book Night. What a great, optimistic, liberating, democratic project. What a wonderful way to celebrate one of humankind's greatest creations. What a truly creative way to encourage people to read one book, then another, then another, to encourage people to become lifelong readers. The Reading Agency and World Book Night are forces for development and change. They really are helping to create a better world.
Lynda La Plante, author of Prime Suspect, says:
It is a great honour for me that Prime Suspect has been chosen to be part of World Book Night 2015. I hope that it might entice someone to the pleasures of reading as Prime Suspect was a very successful television drama starring Helen Mirren. It is wonderfully heart-warming to think that a reader I have never met can be drawn into my story, be introduced to the characters I have created and experience some of the emotions I felt whilst writing the book. It is quite overwhelming. I hope that all of the chosen books bring huge enjoyment to readers worldwide.
Neil Astley, editor of Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, comments:
The Staying Alive Trilogy has introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers to contemporary poetry, so it's wonderful to have the Essential Poems compilation chosen as the first poetry anthology to be given away free on World Book Night. As Helen Dunmore said of Staying Alive, this is a book for people who know they love poetry, and for people who think they don't. Many of the poems are what I call talismanic: the kind that people keep in their wallets, put on fridges and noticeboards, copy to friends and read on special occasions. And you just need to read one of these poems to get drawn into the spell of poetry. If any poems are going to capture the wider public imagination, those in Essential Poems offer the best hope because they relate to all our lives. Like World Book Night itself, the book is a bridge to wider reading - in this case poetry. And don't we all need more poetry in our lives?
M. C. Beaton, author of the Agatha Raisin series, says:
As an author, avid reader and former bookseller, I have always been keenly aware of the power of books, and the opportunity provided by World Book Night to share this gift in such an innovative way is thrilling. I believe The Reading Agency's efforts to promote literacy and engage unlikely readers are not only laudable but essential, as the world really does open up to us when we read. That someone would choose to share my Agatha Raisin with a wider audience is quite wonderful, and I couldn't be prouder to be in such esteemed company.
Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, comments:
When I was a child I was lucky, I grew up in a house with books. They were there if you needed them - and I did because I was quite a shy, troubled child and sometimes reading was the only place I felt safe. This is why I love World Book Night and why I am so thrilled that The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been chosen as one of the books that will be made available to everyone. How can we hope to understand what we don't know without stories that take us into different worlds, or help to make a little sense of the one that is our own?
Elif Shafak, author of Honour, comments:
I was a lonely, unhappy child when I came across a hidden gate in the dullness of daily life. Behind that gate was the wonderful universe of Storyland. I stayed there. I grew up there. Books saved me from sameness, anger, insanity and self-destruction. Books taught me about love and so much more, and I loved them back with all my heart. Today everywhere in the world, East and West, there are many people who talk about the need to promote literacy and the love of books, but very few agencies that genuinely, generously and effectively work to this end. Swimming against the current, World Book Night is a true exception. I am happy and honoured to see my novel Honour on this list.
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