Our authors' responses to World Book Night

21 January 2015

As the deadline for applications to give out editions of our books draws near (you have until 30 January to get yours in here!), we wanted to share some wonderful comments on World Book Night from the authors of the brilliant books on our list.

David Almond, author of Skellig, commented on taking part in World Book Night:
“I’m really pleased that one of my books is to be part of World Book Night. What a great, optimistic, liberating, democratic project. What a wonderful way to celebrate one of humankind’s greatest creations. What a truly creative way to encourage people to read one book, then another, then another, to encourage people to become lifelong readers. The Reading Agency and World Book Night are forces for development and change. They really are helping to create a better world.”

Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, says:
When I was a child I was lucky, I grew up in a house with books. They were there if you needed them – and I did because I was quite a shy, troubled child and sometimes reading was the only place I felt safe.

This is why I love World Book Night and why I am so thrilled that The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been chosen as one of the books that will be made available to everyone. How can we hope to understand what we don’t know without stories that take us into different worlds, or help to make a little sense of the one that is our own?

Lynda La Plante, author of Prime Suspect, says:
“It is a great honour for me that Prime Suspect has been chosen to be part of World Book Night 2015. I hope that it might entice someone to the pleasures of reading as Prime Suspect was a very successful television drama starring Helen Mirren. It is wonderfully heart-warming to think that a reader I have never met can be drawn into my story, be introduced to the characters I have created and experience some of the emotions I felt whilst writing the book. It is quite overwhelming. I hope that all of the chosen books bring huge enjoyment to readers worldwide.”

Neil Astley, editor of Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, comments:
“The Staying Alive Trilogy has introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers to contemporary poetry, so it’s wonderful to have the Essential Poems compilation chosen as the first poetry anthology to be given away free on World Book Night. As Helen Dunmore said of Staying Alive, this is a book for people who know they love poetry, and for people who think they don’t. Many of the poems are what I call talismanic: the kind that people keep in their wallets, put on fridges and noticeboards, copy to friends and read on special occasions. And you just need to read one of these poems to get drawn into the spell of poetry. If any poems are going to capture the wider public imagination, those in Essential Poems offer the best hope because they relate to all our lives. Like World Book Night itself, the book is a bridge to wider reading – in this case poetry. And don’t we all need more poetry in our lives?”

M. C. Beaton, author of Agatha Raisin, says:
“As an author, avid reader and former bookseller, I have always been keenly aware of the power of books, and the opportunity provided by World Book Night to share this gift in such an innovative way is thrilling. I believe The Reading Agency’s efforts to promote literacy and engage unlikely readers are not only laudable but essential, as the world really does open up to us when we read. That someone would choose to share my Agatha Raisin with a wider audience is quite wonderful, and I couldn’t be prouder to be in such esteemed company.”

Elif Shafak, author of Honour, comments:
“I was a lonely, unhappy child when I came across a hidden gate in the dullness of daily life. Behind that gate was the wonderful universe of Storyland. I stayed there. I grew up there. Books saved me from sameness, anger, insanity and self-destruction. Books taught me about love and so much more, and I loved them back with all my heart. Today everywhere in the world, East and West, there are many people who talk about the need to promote literacy and the love of books, but very few agencies that genuinely, generously and effectively work to this end. Swimming against the current, World Book Night is a true exception. I am happy and honoured to see my novel Honour on this list.”


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