King, gal-dem and Milner among World Book Night titles

King, gal-dem and Milner among World Book Night titles

Stephen King, gal-dem, James Milner and Jack Monroe are among those featuring on the list of titles for World Book Night 2021.

The list, announced by the Reading Agency in partnership with Specsavers, is themed “Books to Make You Smile” in response to the pandemic's impact on mental health and wellbeing.

World Book Night takes place on 23rd April and is marking its 10th anniversary by giving away 90,000 books in various formats. The Reading Agency will distribute them to organisations such as prisons, hospitals, youth centres, care homes and mental health groups.

Books on the list include King's Elevation (Hodder), gal-dem's anthology "I Will Not Be Erased": Our Stories about Growing Up as People of Colour (Walker), Ask a Footballer by Liverpool football player Milner (Quercus) and Monroe's Good Food for Bad Days (Pan Macmillan).

King, said: “I’m very pleased that Elevation has been chosen for World Book Night. It’s one of my favorites, probably because it suggests that good people can still bridge the divide between differing points of view and find a path to acceptance.”

After success with the format last year, the list will continue featuring audiobooks with Emma by Jane Austen, narrated by Tanya Reynolds (PRH Audio), and  Much Ado About Nothing, narrated by David Tennant and Samantha Spiro (BBC Audio).

An exclusive addition to the 2021 book list to mark the initiative's decade milestone is the specially commissioned book, Stories to Make You Smile, published by Simon & Schuster and in partnership with Specsavers. The collection will be edited by writer and editor Fanny Blake, and features Richard Madeley, Jenny Éclair, Helen Lederer, Mark Watson, Dorothy Koomson, Eva Verde, Vaseem Khan, Veronica Henry and Rachel Hore among others.

Organisations hoping to receive the books to be given away on World Book Night have until 29th January to apply. Last year books went to York City Football Club, The Disability Foundation, Rethink Mental Illness, and Crisis, among others.

Debbie Hicks, creative director of the Reading Agency, said: “We’re thrilled to be announcing our World Book Night 2021 book list, and hugely grateful to all the wonderful publishers and authors contributing. This year, we saw first-hand how World Book Night and the #ReadingHour brought people together during a very challenging time – so it makes perfect sense for us to continue to build on this with our 2021 theme, alongside our brilliant partner Specsavers, sharing books to make the nation smile.”

The full list of titles:

A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi (Vintage)

Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers by various authors, edited by Kit de Waal (Unbound)

Ask a Footballer by James Milner (Quercus)

Elevation by Stephen King (Hodder)

Emma by Jane Austen, narrated by Tanya Reynolds (Penguin Random House Audio)

Faking Friends by Jane Fallon (Michael Joseph)

Good Food for Bad Days by Jack Monroe (Pan Macmillan)

“I Will Not Be Erased”: Our Stories About Growing Up as People of Colour by gal-dem (Walker Books)

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, narrated by David Tennant and Samantha Spiro (BBC Audio)

Pocket Book of Happiness (Trigger Publishing)

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe (Penguin General)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Penguin Random House Children’s)

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (Simon & Schuster)

Stories to Make You Smile by various authors, ed. by Fanny Blake (Simon & Schuster)

Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Chelsea Kwakye and Ọrẹ Ogunbiyi (Cornerstone)

The Anxiety Survival Guide by Bridie Gallagher, Sue Knowles and Phoebe McEwan (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (Quercus)

The Kindness Method written and narrated by Shahroo Izadi (Pan Macmillan)

To Sir With Love by E.R. Braithwaite (Vintage)

Up in the Attic by Pam Ayres (Ebury)

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)

Where Are We Now? by Glenn Patterson (Head of Zeus)