In the lead up to World Book Day (WBD) in the UK I thought it might be interesting to explore how WBD came about, why the UK chose to celebrate in March, point you in the direction of a short story competition, find out which city is World Book Capital for 2020 and what to do if you fancy hosting WBC 2022. It’s a longish post with plenty of links to explore so you might want to grab your favourite beverage and snack for this one!
World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.
“A window onto our inner lives, books are also the doorway to mutual respect and understanding between people, across all boundaries and differences.” Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO (2019)
It is believed the original idea was that of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, first on 7 October, his birth date, then on 23 April, his death date.
23 April is such a symbolic date for world literature. As it is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare* and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of many other authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla, Manuel Mejía Vallejo, Ngaio Marsh and J P Donleavy.
It was, therefore, a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date. Encouraging everyone, especially young people, to discover the pleasure of reading. It also hopes to gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.
So World Book Day was first celebrated fully and continues to be recognised on 23 April. World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. Celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the magical power of books – ‘a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. By championing books and copyright, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge…’
* Note: Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date — 23 April 1616 — but not on the same day as, at the time, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar; Shakespeare actually died 10 days after Cervantes, on 3 May of the Gregorian calendar.
The UK celebrates on 5 March
World Book Day Ltd is a registered charity. Bringing together the UK and Ireland’s bookselling and publishing industries in an extraordinary collaboration.
It is financed mainly from contributing publishers, the sponsorship of National Book Tokens Ltd, some literacy partnerships and other supporters, as well as the participating booksellers who fund the entire cost of the Book Token redemption.
It’s collective decision-making process around the annual campaign, strategy and governance of World Book Day is done via an Executive Committee and a Board of Trustees, both of which are composed of senior representatives from bookselling, publishing, the Booksellers and Publishers Associations, The Reading Agency and an acclaimed author.
The date of the first Thursday in March came about “after serious thought and lengthy discussion to ensure the best decision” for all participants and supporters whilst also “taking into consideration religious holidays, school terms and potential conflict with other charitable activities.” – World Book Day.
If you’re in the UK and want to celebrate something bookish on the 23 April World Book Night takes place each year on that date.
World Tales – short story competition
World Book Capital
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year.
World Book Capital for 2020 is Kuala Lumpur. Their program focuses on four themes: reading in all its forms, development of the book industry infrastructure, inclusiveness and digital accessibility, and empowerment of children through reading.
“A city that reads is a city that cares. In choosing our slogan KL BACA: Caring through Reading, we believe that the best way for people to appreciate and care for other people and for them to care for the environment is to get the people to read. Books empower our soul and make us better human beings. A caring society sustains harmony and protects the environment for future generations.” – KL WBC
Countries wishing to be considered for World Book Capital 2022 have until 25 June 2020 to submit their applications. You’ll find all the details here: Call for applications
The poetry and writing of Ailsa Cawley. Welcome!
Musings about books and a blog journal
All things bookish
A guy hunting for thrillers across the world, and a firm believer in the power of tea
Author of suspense novels Sketch, Justice For Belle, Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, and a medley of short stories.
...a crime-fictional site
a classics club blog
A bookish blog (mostly) about women writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
writings & creations
A man with dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!
A book lover writes about this, that and the other
A Community of Classics Lovers
Book reviews of mainly modern & contemporary fiction
Murder Down To A Tea
Criminally good reads
Book reviews and the occasional ramblings of a book blogger
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Challenge
Two Girls, Too Many Books
Musings and Ramblings of a Disorganised Blogger
Blogger, Reviewer, Publicist, Beta Reader
Read All About It
No one ever reads the same book. We all react to the written word differently. The following are my opinions regarding the books I have read.
Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting
For book lovers everywhere
Free bookreviews and other free book related stuff
The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!
And for summer days
Spotlight on Nordic / Scandinavian crime fiction... and connections
All things bookish.
Escaping reality one book at a time
Just a quiet knitter with an addiction to books
Reader | Writer | Blogger
Louise Jensen - Writer - www.louisejensen.co.uk
Monthly Festival : Turn your book into a movie and get it seen by 1000s of people. Or garner FULL FEEDBACK from publishers on your novel and help your next draft. Or get a transcript video of your novel performed by professional actors.
Reading and Reviewing Books - May Contain Beard: "From Tiny Book Blog Buds Shall Mighty Book Blogs Grow" - TBBB
The place where I put down all my thoughts and observations
Book blog with a speculative focus
Reading Books That Make You Blush
Reading under the light of a Carolina moon
Books, Writing and Life!
Each night I TRAVEL THE WORLD, I LIVE IN THE MIND OF KILLERS AND WALK AT THE SIDE OF HEROES
Thoughts of a twenty-something girl navigating her way one book at a time
The power of the word never fails!
A Readers Musings and Reviews