World Book Night was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011 on 5 March. In 2012 it was moved to 23 April, the international day of the book, and was also celebrated in the USA and Germany.
World Book Night was conceived of by Jamie Byng, MD of Canongate. It came out of a round table discussion at the Book Industry Conference in May 2010, the purpose of which was, quite simply, to imagine a way to encourage more adults to read. The chair of the discussion was Julia Kingsford, who went on to be World Book Night’s Chief Executive, and one of the participants was Ursula Mackenzie, Little, Brown CEO, who became a trustee.
The name took its lead from the well-established and successful children’s reading celebration in UK and Ireland called World Book Day. So as day is for children, then night is for adults and night is also when we traditionally think about celebrations.
In 2012 and 2013 World Book Night was celebrated in the USA as well as the UK and Ireland and almost 50,000 people gave a million books away in three different countries.
In late 2013 World Book Night became part of The Reading Agency and is now run as a Reading Agency programme as part of its work to inspire people to take up reading and celebrate the difference that reading makes to their lives.
2015 will be the fifth World Book Night celebration. The 20 Titles Are Shown Below.
2. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton (Constable, Little, Brown)
3. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (HarperCollins)
4. Chickenfeed by Minette Walters (Quick Read) (Pan Macmillan)
5. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson (Head of Zeus)
6. Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle (Quick Read) (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
7. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Pan Macmillan)
8. Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, Neil Astley (ed.) (Bloodaxe)
9. Honour by Elif Shafak (Penguin General, Penguin Random House)
10. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Orion / Hachette Children’s)
11. Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante (Simon & Schuster)
12. Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House)
13. Skellig by David Almond (Hachette Children’s)
14. Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind (Hesperus)
15. Street Cat Bob by James Bowen (Quick Read) (Hodder)
16. The Martian by Andy Weir (Ebury, Penguin Random House)
17. The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington (Canongate)
18. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Transworld, Penguin Random House)
19. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Two Roads, John Murray)
20. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman (Headline)