World Book Night 2016 has announced the 15 titles it will be giving away next April, including titles from authors Matt Haig, Jonathan Coe and Carol Ann Duffy.
Spanning genres of crime, poetry, non-fiction, YA, historical fiction, and fiction in translation, the diverse line-up was devised to celebrate “the enrichment that reading and books can bring to people’s lives” encouraging those who don’t already read for pleasure – an estimated 36% of adults – to get involved.
The 2016 list encompasses books by names such as Matt Haig, Jonathan Coe and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, as well as fresh talent Holly Bourne and the bestselling crime author Sarah Hilary. Coe, author of The Rotters' Club (Penguin Books) on the list, said: "Reading is the best possible way to foster imagination, empathy and mutual understanding, and never have those qualities been more needed than at the present time.”
The list was curated to appeal to a breadth of audiences holding different attitudes towards reading. Highlighting mental health issues were choice selections as Reasons to Stay Alive (Canongate) by Matt Haig and Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne (Usborne), while the Quick Reads title The Baby at the Beach Café by Lucy Diamond (Pan Macmillan) will be distributed to target vulnerable pregnant women and young mothers.
Carol Ann Duffy's Love Poems (Pan Macmillan) has been selected from the list, along with Band of Brothers by Stephen E Ambrose (Simon & Schuster), I Can't Begin to Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan (Michael Joseph) and Last Bus to Coffeeville by J. Paul Henderson (Oldcastle)
Completing the 15 titles are Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (Transworld), Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse (Head of Zeus), Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Hachette Children’s), Someone Else's Skin, Sarah Hilary (Headline), Too Good to be True (Quick Read) by Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan), Treachery by S. J. Parris (HarperCollins) and Whispering Shadows by Jan-Phillip Sendker (Birlinn).
World Book Night, taking place on 23rd April 2016, coincides with the same date as Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death. World Book Night’s flagship event will take place at the British Library with appearances from authors and actors, celebrating Shakespeare’s themes and language by making creative connections between the books on the list and Shakespeare’s plays.
Independent research company Free Thought Research has revealed that in 2015 80% of those who received a book on World Book Night had never read or read infrequently before the event, while 85% talked to others about books more, of which 47% reported an increase in the number of books they bought and 32% borrowed more from their local library.
Sue Wilkinson, c.e.o of The Reading Agency, said: “We are very happy to announce this exciting list of 15 books for World Book Night 2016. As a poetry lover myself, I’m delighted that we’re able to include a stunning collection of poetry from Carol Ann Duffy. We also have compelling fiction for young adults as well as non-fiction titles and two Quick Reads. Quick Reads is now part of The Reading Agency and will make a great contribution to our ambition for World Book Night to start thousands of people on their reading journey."
Wilkinson said The Reading Agency was now calling for a "huge team of volunteer givers" to come forward and help share their love of reading with others. "From the individuals who’ll be gifting in their communities to organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, homeless shelters and more who’ll get books to the most hard to reach, we want everyone to feel inspired to go out into the community as part of this huge, nationwide celebration and help to get more people reading more,” she said.
In a new initiative for 2016, publishers will be encouraged to give out copies of their own stock on Friday 22nd April within their neighbourhoods to increase the number of books given away as part of the celebrations and to become better connected with their local communities. It is also calling for members of the public to help on the night through volunteering via its website. Applications will close on 29th January 2016, and successful applicants will be informed by 26th February 2016.
The full list of World Book Night titles for 2016 are:
1. Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne (Usborne)
2. Band of Brothers by Stephen E Ambrose (Simon & Schuster)
3. I Can't Begin to Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan (Michael Joseph)
4. Last Bus to Coffeeville by J. Paul Henderson (Oldcastle)
5. Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy (Pan Macmillan)
6. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (Transworld)
7. Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse (Head of Zeus)
8. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (Canongate)
9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Hachette Children’s)
10. Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary (Headline)
11. The Baby at the Beach Café (Quick Read), Lucy Diamond (Pan Macmillan)
12. The Rotters' Club, Jonathan Coe (Penguin General)
13. Too Good to be True (Quick Read), Ann Cleeves (Pan Macmillan)
14. Treachery, S. J. Parris (HarperCollins)
15. Whispering Shadows, Jan-Phillip Sendker (Birlinn)