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07.12.11 | Benedicte Page
World Book Night founder Jamie Byng has said there is a "very good chance" the book donation event will take place in "dozens" of countries by 2013/14.
The Canongate m.d.'s ambition for major expansion of the event's international reach was declared at a Downing Street reception last night (6th December), alongside the news that half of the one million books to be given away in the UK in 2012 (April 23rd) will be distributed directly to prisons, hospitals and disadvantaged communities.
World Book Night is already set to take place in the US as well as the UK next year.
Byng said the aim for the UK event in 2012 was to "expand the reach and take it to a new level", with a priority to "take books to some of the hardest to reach potential readers particularly within UK prisons, libraries and hospitals, care homes and homes for the elderly".
The remaining 500,000 books will be distributed by 20,000 volunteer members of the public to donate and share as happened at the inaugural event earlier this year. The date to apply to be a donor has been extended to the end of January 2012. World Book Night will work with The Reading Agency to ensure all library authorities receive full sets of books, including prison libraries and hospital libraries, for outreach work, and the event will also link with The Reading Agency's Reading Groups for Everyone campaign, encouraging recipients and givers to set up groups.
Byng said World Book Night had already signed up over 20% of its aimed-for "World Book Night 50"—50 individual donors, each giving £5,000 to support the event—with a "tremendous response" to the fundraising initiative.
Leading figures from the literary world, the arts, and the literacy sector were present at the reception, which was hosted by Frances Osborne, author of The Bolter and wife of chancellor George Osborne.
Photo credit: Richard Stonehouse.