Atwood, Bennett and Nick Cave to headline WBN Trafalgar Square event

Margaret Atwood, Alan Bennett and John Le Carré will be among the authors headlining the World Book Night launch event in Trafalgar Square on 4th March. Graham Norton will compere the event, with Philip Pullman, Sarah Waters, Mark Haddon and Derek Walcott also among those who will be reading and performing on the night. Nick Cave, Rupert Everett, Hanif Kureishi, D B C Pierre, Edna O'Brien and Lemn Sissay complete the line-up.

Ten thousand people, made up of 5,000 WBN givers and friends and 5,000 members of the public, will be able to attend the event in central London. Tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, with 2,500 pairs of tickets set aside for givers. The event is being sponsored by Sony and its Reader device, as well as Waterstone's.

Chair of WBN Jamie Byng said: "We felt that it was appropriate to launch World Book Night with a suitably ambitious event that celebrates on a large scale writing, reading and the shared experience that books can provide. This occasion in Trafalgar Square should deliver exactly that and is a memorable way of bringing thousands of the givers together."

Waterstone's m.d. Dominic Myers said: "World Book Night is launching with a line-up of legendary writers that any festival would be proud to claim its own–it's a great way to kick off this incredible campaign, and Waterstone's is proud to be part of it."

World Book Night will see 20,000 volunteers give away one million books from 5th March.