The Reading Agency has today announced that “Books To Make You Smile” will be the theme of World Book Night 2021 on 23 April, mark the 10th anniversary of the annual campaign celebrating the shared pleasure of reading.
Building on the success of World Book Night 2020, which brought millions of people together for the #ReadingHour during the first national lockdown, next year’s theme is a response to the pandemic’s significant impact on the nation’s mental health.
To mark its tenth anniversary, World Book Night will produce a specially commissioned book, Stories to Make You Smile, published by Simon & Schuster.
The collection will be edited by writer, former Costa Book Award judge and Quick Reads editor, Fanny Blake.
Confirmed authors include:
· Jenny Éclair – comedian, novelist, actress and Loose Women panellist, and author of bestselling book Older and Wider – A Survivor’s Guide to the Menopause.
· Richard Madeley – television royalty, writer and co-host of the UK’s biggest book club, The Richard and Judy Book Club.
· Helen Lederer – comedian, writer and actress, famous for her role as Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous.
· Mark Watson – award-winning Edinburgh Fringe comedian, radio presenter and author of seven novels.
· Dorothy Koomson – best-selling author of The Ice Cream Girls and The Brighton Mermaid, described as “Britain’s biggest selling Black author of adult fiction” (The Independent).
· Eva Verde – debut author of Little Lives Like Mine; her memoir piece, ‘I am not your Tituba’ was selected to form part of Kit De Waal’s Common People – An Anthology of Working Class Writers.
· Vaseem Khan – best-selling author of Indian-set crime series Baby Ganesh Agency and the Malabar House novels, whose books have been optioned for film by Cinestaan.
· Rachel Hore – Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author of eleven novels, including The Dream House, The Glasspainter’s Daughter and A Beautiful Spy.
· Veronica Henry – bestselling author of lifestyle fiction, including A Wedding at the Beach Hut, A Home from Home and A Family Recipe.
The book commission is made possible by a brand-new partnership with Specsavers which has teamed up with The Reading Agency to produce the free book to help bring smiles to people’s faces. It also coincides with Specsavers new multichannel campaign, Something to Smile About, to celebrate the positivity and joy that a simple smile can bring when times are difficult. The book will be available as part of the national World Book Night giveaway and for Specsavers customers, with details to be announced in 2021.
World Book Night 2021 will also once again team up with publishers to give away over 50,000 books in various formats, with the World Book Night booklist to be announced later in December. The giveaway will see books and audiobooks donated to organisations including prisons, hospitals, youth centres, care homes and mental health groups, to spread the joy of reading to those who don’t regularly read for pleasure or have access to books.