World Book Night 2018 spotlights link between reading and mental health

25 January 2018

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13 December 2017: The Reading Agency today announces the list of books to be given away on World Book Night, 23 April 2018. The varied titles, donated by publishers from Penguin Random House and Hachette to small presses Nine Arches and Cassava Republic, include a diverse selection of commercial and literary fiction, poetry, non-fiction and young adult, each selected to inspire people who don’t regularly read to pick up a book and get reading.

With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, The Reading Agency’s research shows that reading can increase empathy, improve relationships with others and reduce the symptoms of depression. The charity aims to harness this with several titles exploring mental health and wellbeing on the list, including Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, The Recovery Letters by Olivia Sagan & James Withey (eds.) and Open by Gemma Cairney. Other titles include British Book Awards Book of the Year 2016 The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, poetry collection Kith by Jo Bell and My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal.

For the second year running, a more targeted approach to World Book Night book distribution will see The Reading Agency working with public libraries, prisons, colleges, care homes, youth centres, mental health groups and other charities to get books into the hands of new readers on 23 April, when events celebrating reading will also take place nationwide. Organisations can apply to take part from today via

The books

The complete list of titles donated by publishers for World Book Night 2018:

Kith by Jo Bell (Nine Arches)
Our Summer Together by Fanny Blake (Orion)
Open by Gemma Cairney (Pan Macmillan)
Dangerous Lady by Martina Cole (Headline)
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Penguin)
After the Fire by Will Hill (Usborne)
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (Vintage)
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley (John Murray)
Gilded Cage by Vic James (Pan Macmillan)
The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Cornerstone)
Satellite by Nick Lake (Hachette Children’s)
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart (Bonnier)
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood (Michael Joseph)
Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Cassava Republic)
My Everything by Katie Marsh (Hodder)
One of us is Lying by Karen M McManus (Penguin Random House Children’s)
At My Mother’s Knee by Paul O’Grady (Transworld)
The Recovery Letters, Olivia Sagan & James Withey (Eds.) (Jessica Kingsley)
The Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thomson (Head of Zeus)
My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal (Penguin)
What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren (Scribe)
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman (Piatkus)
Carry on Jeeves by PG Wodehouse (Cornerstone)

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive, The Reading Agency says:

“We know from our work on the Reading Well programme that there is a powerful link between reading and positive mental health. We are delighted to be able to include on the 2018 World Book Night list several titles that deal with this directly as well as others that we hope will lift readers’ moods or help them confront life’s difficulties.

“Our aim with World Book Night has always been to reach and develop new readers and we can’t wait to work again with all of the wonderful public libraries, prisons, colleges and others who do such a terrific job of getting our brilliant books into the hands of people who don’t think reading is for them.”

Kit de Waal, whose book My Name is Leon has been donated by Penguin Random House, says:

“I’m thrilled to be included in World Book Night 2018. It’s a great opportunity for readers to discover new books and for books to find new audiences. Reading and understanding different lives and experiences has never been more important.”

After World Book Night 2017, results from a follow-up survey showed that The Reading Agency’s renewed, targeted approach to book distribution enabled organisations to help get more people reading. 91% of participating organisations rated their experience of taking part as excellent or good and 89% thought that the books donated by publishers in 2017 helped encourage people to read more often.

Apryl Hammett, Face to Face Development Officer for Essex Libraries, who gave books on World Book Night 2017 says:

“This was one of the best World Book Night events I had been part of. It was completely inclusive and really encapsulated what World Book Night is all about – the love of reading – in some cases the forgotten love of reading.”

Get involved

Apply for your organisation to take part in World Book Night 2018


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