World Book Night brings a literary feast to the Verbal Arts Centre

Jennifer Johnston

Jennifer Johnston

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The Verbal Arts Centre will celebrate all things literary on Wednesday, April 23, as they host the Reading Agency’s Northern Irish flagship event for World Book Night 2014.

World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books. Hundreds of thousands of books will be given away free across the UK and a whole host of literary events will be rolled out in an effort to share their love of reading with people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books.

A whole host of authors will take to the stage at the Verbal Arts Centre to showcase the very best of Northern Irish writing during a night of readings and entertainment.

The evening will be headlined by multi-award winning novelist Jennifer Johnston, who will read from her latest works and some firm favourites.

The New York Times Bestselling crime author Brian McGilloway will read from his latest book, Hurt. Brian recently won the BBC Northern Ireland’s Tony Doyle Award 2014 for his screenplay, Little Emperors and is currently the BBC’s Writer in Residence.

Renowned Belfast author Kenneth Gregory will read from his work Polaris Whisper, a gripping fantasy novel that spans the world of Celtic and Norse mythology.

Award-winning Northern Irish author Bernie McGill will read from her works Sleepwalkers and The Butterfly Cabinet and famed author Carlo Gebler will also host an open Reading Rooms event that evening.

The Verbal Arts Centre’s Chief Executive James Kerr said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Northern Ireland flagship event for the Reading Agency, allowing us to bring the very best of Northern Irish literary talent to our stage.

“Statistics show that in the UK 35 per cent of people don’t regularly read despite reading for pleasure being a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health.

“World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging those who have lost the love of reading – or are yet to gain it – to pick up a book and read. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph until they too have discovered the power of reading and the opportunities in life that reading can open the door to.

“This event is completely free. Hundreds of books will be given away for free and we are encouraging people to bring their own books along and take part in our Book Swap Shop – swap your favourite book for another one.

“We are really looking forward to an amazing night of literary entertainment. Come and join us.”

The author reading event at the Verbal Arts Centre starts at 7pm and will run until 10.30pm.

The open Reading Rooms starts at 7pm.

All events are free.