World Book Night: Authors celebrate the written word with massive books giveaway


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The Independent Culture

Thousands of readers and authors gathered in the UK, Ireland and America this week to celebrate World Book Night.

Each year 20,000 volunteers hand out 20 copies of their favourite book from a list chosen annually to members of their community who might not be regular readers.

Over 500,000 books were distributed this year and a number of literary and arts luminaries including Tracey Chevalier, Mark Haddon, Lucy Fleming, Charles Dance, Lemn Sissay (below) and Rupert Thomson (above) gave talks and readings of their work to celebrate the occasion.

As well as enlisting the help of people in the community the project also gives thousands of books to prisons, hospitals, sheltered housing, care homes, organisations supporting social housing and homeless charities.

Authors waive their royalties and publishers agree to pay to produce special World Book Night editions.

Bookshops and libraries sign up to be collection points for books and voracious readers who want to spread the written word can volunteer to give away their favourite titles.