A Lewisham leisure centre will be hosting an event for World Book Night that will be part of an attempt to get 250,000 books circulated across the country to encourage more people to read.
Charity, The Reading Agency, which aims to give everyone an equal chance to become a reading enthusiast, selected Lewisham’s Glass Mill Leisure Centre to host the event on April 23.
The event will include performances and readings from crime author Dreda Say Mitchell, and Nadeem Masood, author of Making Pandemonium, which documents his experiences while being a volunteer performer at the London 2012 Olympics.
12,500 special World Book Night editions of 20 books chosen from a list of submissions by publishers will be given out by a network of volunteer reading enthusiasts and institutions, focusing on reaching out to the 35% of the population who don’t read for pleasure.
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “I am delighted that Glass Mill Leisure Centre has been chosen as the London region’s flagship venue for World Book Night 2014. Using the leisure centre ensures a huge range of people are given the opportunity to donate books and swap books.”
Sue Wilkins, CEO of The Reading Agency, expressed her excitement at the upcoming event and paid tribute to Lewisham Library for the part that it will play in the evening’s festivities.
She said: “World Book Night is going to be a wonderful event. It is an opportunity for the whole community to come together to celebrate and share their love of reading and to raise awareness of what a difference reading can make to everyone’s lives.
“The wonderful Lewisham Library is hosting an after-hours book party as part of World Book Night. Events like these are what World Book Night is all about and they make it what we want it to be, the night when more people realise that everything changes when we read.”
The Reading Agency began World Book Night four years ago in the hope of encouraging those who have lost the love of reading, and this year there is a new way of getting involved in the cause.
Community Book Giving offers people the chance to give away their best-loved book, without it being one of the 20 designated titles.
Whether new or second hand, participants can give away their book that can be identified by special World Book Night stickers and book plates that are available from Lewisham libraries.
Bullock added: “With such a comprehensive range of titles, there are books for every taste and I hope to see many Lewisham community book givers as well as volunteer reading enthusiasts welcoming readers from all over London.”
Some of the authors of this year’s selected titles include John Grisham, Andy McNab and Roald Dahl.