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Wednesday
Apr242013

WORLD BOOK NIGHT – South Shields style.  

I was really looking forward to World Book Night this year, celebrating mine at a special Read Regional event in the lecture theatre at South Shields Central Library. Earlier in the day, Anne Coates (writer/Twitter friend) asked me to give her a quote for her blog on what I thought about this mass giveaway event. This is what I told her...

Anything that spreads the love of reading and puts books in the hands of those who don't have access to them has to be a positive thing. Reading is good for you on so many levels. Books educate, take people to places they’ve never been – be that Manchester or the moon. They entertain, engaging the reader in a world outside of their experience, raising a series of questions as they progress to the conclusion...

As a crime writer, this is the single most important consideration for me when I’m plotting a new novel. I deliberately set up situations that aren’t paid off until the very end. Reading decreases isolation too, especially if the title is part of a series where the characters feel like old friends. It’s just nice to lose yourself in a book.

Reading is on the rise in this country but there is still a lot of work to do. Some homes don’t possess a single book and these are the very people World Book Night aimed to reach. With councils closing libraries – a shortsighted step in my view – events like these are going to be even more important in years to come.

Some commentators have put forward an alternative view, inviting those who can afford it to buy a book (any book) from their local bookseller and give it away in the spirit of World Book Night. I think that is also a really good idea. Whether you choose a WBN title or something else, the important thing is reaching out to others, spreading the joy of books.

For me, World Book Night 2013 was a great success. I flew solo in South Shields. Sadly, Russ Litten was forced to pull out at the last minute due to a family emergency. I was also very sad to hear that a group of partially sighted library members had missed out as their guide was unwell. I hope to return one day to meet them all.

World Book Night flew by: I spoke about my journey, my writing regime, where I get my ideas from. Then I read for almost twenty minutes! No, I don’t usually do that. I kept stopping and was urged to keep going – such was the enthusiasm in the room – and this from a writer who a year ago was too nervous to read at the launch of her debut at Hexham Book Festival last year.

I’d like to thank Pauline Martin (Reader Development Librarian at South Shields) and her wonderful staff and volunteers for inviting me along and giving me such a warm welcome. Thanks too to the many enthusiastic readers and writers who made the evening all the more special, chatting to me in the interval (see below) and engaging in a lively Q & A. I had a brilliant time.

 

This post will also appear on the Read Regional blog. 

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