World Book Night

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Turn up the lights, bang on the kettle, and get your bookmark at the ready... World Book Night is back. Only, given the lockdown, the festival - now in its 10th year - is doing things a little differently this time around. Normally celebrated through a national network of book-themed parties, late-night read-a-thons, literary giveaways and more, this year it is going fully virtual so readers can continue to celebrate all things books from the comfort and safety of their home.

Run by book charity The Reading Agency, the annual event brings together people across the country under the banner of of books, designed not only to celebrate the power of the written word, but also the genuine difference books can have on people's lives. While World Book Day is about celebrating the joys of reading by those who love books, World Book Night is about reaching out to the 36 percent of the population who don’t read for pleasure. As they say, 'adults who read for 30 mins a week are 20 percent more likely to report greater life satisfaction'. 

And as we continue to adjust to this time of national isolation, never has reading brought more solace, pleasure or distraction to so many. So, from virtual parties to author broadcasts, audiobook giveaways to book-themed quizzes, here are some of the best virtual events going on this year.

The #readinghour

From 7pm to 8pm, readers across the nation are being encouraged to spend an hour with a book, whether it's reading to children before bed, curling up in a quiet place with a book, or listening to an audiobook while cooking dinner. All organisers then ask is that you join in the celebration by taking a selfie of you reading your book and posting it on social media under the hashtag #ReadingHour.

Audiobook giveaway

This year, the event is giving away a limited number of free audiobooks. All you need do is enter the draw. Choose one of four titles available and winners will be sent a download code on the day itself. The books to choose from are: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams; North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell; Double Crossed by Brian Wood; and Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults, introduce by Lucy Mangan. For more information on how to apply, visit the website.

Discover the World Book Night booklist

Every year The Reading Agency sends out thousands of books to care homes, youth centres, colleges, prisons, public libraries, mental health groups and other settings to inspire people to pick up a book. This year, due to coronavirus, they cannot. So instead, some authors (yet to be announced) will give readings on social media to fans. For a complete list of this year's the selected books, visit the website

Share a book with a friend

The Reading Agency is also encouraging readerst to 'share a book' on the day with a friend or family member, either by simply recommending one; ordering one from an independent bookshop for delivery, gifting a book direct to someone's Kindle, or buying them a gift card from National Book Tokens

Throw a virtual book party

Organisers say a great way to encourage people to read is through a virtual party. It could be a book-character fancy dress, a book recommendation party or, book-themed quizzes. They even suggest using the Netflix Party extension for Chrome to watch a film adaptation of a book together online. 

The Hospital Club virtual party

The exclusive members club is throwing open its virtual doors with a Zoom party for 'a stunning, online celebration of the power of words'. The star-spangled event will include readings from a host of actors and well-known authors, including Joanna Trollope, Dolly Alderton, John Niven, Ruth Hogan, Sophie Ward, and Derek Owusu. The club has also teamed up with Waterstones to offer a 25 percent discount on any of the books read by authors on the night. For information on how to get tikckets, visit the website.

Online Q&A with author Stephanie Wrobel

Wandsworth Town Library will hold an exclusive online interview with the author of spine-chilling new thriller The Recovery of Rose Gold, named 'Thriller of the Year' by Stylist magazine. Broadcast on the library's Facebook page, readers are asked to send questions they would like to ask Wrobel via Facebook, or Twitter, under the hashtag #AskStephanie. 

Translated Fiction Online Book Club

Not-for-profit short story and fiction publisher Comma Press is holding its penultimate Translated Fiction Online Book Club, in which readers will discuss Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Sudanese author Rania Mamoun, and translated by Elisabeth Jaquette, who will be leading the virtual round table. The 80-page novella is about life as a woman in contemporary Sudan, 'depicting motherhood and marriage with dark humour and startling frankness'. You can join in from 8pm on Zoom. Find out more here

The Big Queer Book Quiz

Scottish LGBT+ mental health and wellbeing charity See Me Proud is holding a 'Big Queer Book Quiz' at 8:15pm on its Facebook page. Announcing the event, whose questions will cover LGBT+ literature, organisers hailed reading for its 'positive effect on our mental health [that] can also help us explore new worlds from home.' 

Jersey Library's Big Read

'To mark the date and promote reading as both an effective tool for mental wellbeing and a way of connecting with others', the library is inviting readers to get together online and read The Truth About Lies by Tracy Darnton. Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019, and one of World Book Night's selected texts, it is a tender and touching YA novel exploring the power of memory and how what we remember shapes us from a young age.

Co-write a collaborative short story on Twitter

BCP Libraries - which runs 24 libraries in Bournemouth, Christchurchand and Poole - is curating a short story write-a-thon, asking readers to build a short story with tweets, starting with an opening line and ending wherever participants take it. 'We'll start the story and then between you all we'll forge a tale in tweet sized chunks!' organisers tweeted this week. To take part, follow the library group on Twitter here

Read-a-long with kids author Richard Merritt

Acclaimed children's author and illustrator Richard Merritt will be live-streaming a reading of his book The Dinosaur Department Store, about a little girl with a prehistoric pet, through publisher Buster Books. For ore information, follow Buster Books on Twitter

 

Blackpool Libraries' Bloomin' Good Fun Book Quiz

This, says host Blackpool Libraries, is, well, what it says on the poster -- a 'bloomin' good fun book quiz'. The live event starts at 7.30pm on Thursday on the organisation's Facebook page. Winners will be entered into a prize draw for a £10 book voucher. 

Edinburgh Libraries' family-friendly quiz

Edinburgh Libraries says librarian-slash-quizmaster Carol, from its Stockbridge branch, will be hosting a family-friendly quiz streamed live on Facebook from her living room, Thursday at 7.30pm. While questions will be literature-based, organisers say, the quiz is for all the family so no need to be a book buff to take part. 

Live Quiz at Somerset Library

'Join us on Thurs 23 April, 3pm for our first ever Facebook Live quiz! (Gulp - we're not nervous at all!!),' says organisers at Somerset Libraries. The live event kicks off at 3pm on the library group's Facebook page, and will cover a range of subjects, including 'sport, cookery, crime, film, children's books and more'. 

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