Hundreds of books for free at Foyleside

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Local book lovers will be delighted to learn that 250 assorted books will be handed out tomorrow as part of Derry’s first ever World Book Night.

Guildhall Press and Yes! Publications have joined forces to celebrate the inaugural event tomorrow, Saturday, March 5, from 11am to 5pm on Level Three of Foyleside Shopping Centre.

The event is in partnership with LibrariesNI, Booktrust, Easons, Shipquay Books & News, An Cló Ceart, Little Acorns Bookstore (Bedlam Weekend Market) and Foyle Books.

This dynamic and unprecedented sector-wide initiative takes place two days after World Book Day itself and celebrates books, reading and all things literary.

In total, an amazing one million books will be given away free on World Book Night (WBN) to members of the public throughout Ireland and the UK. In Derry, the co-organisers will hand out some 250 books for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jenni Doherty, Guildhall Press, and organiser of Derry World Book Night, said: “WBN is a unique collaboration between local publishers, booksellers, libraries, writers and individual members of the public and one that I think is going to have an enormously positive impact on books and reading. ”

“Seamus Heaney’s ‘New Selected Poems 1966-1987’ has been chosen as one of the official WBN titles for Derry, alongside ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison and ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ by Marian Keyes with 50 copies each available. Guildhall Press and Yes! Publications have donated a further hundred titles between them which will include quality work by local authors such as Dave Duggan, Garbhan Downey, Felicity McCall, Jenni Doherty, Eddie Kerr, Chris Sheerin, Dermot Kelly, Roy Clements among others.

“It’s great to be able to showcase local writing talent among the bigger names and publishing houses. There will indeed be something to cater for everyone,” Jenni added.

Fionnuala Deane, Yes! Publications, said: “World Book Night is a truly wonderful celebration of reading, writing, and sharing.

“We’re delighted to be a part of this national campaign to encourage the love of reading and to use the opportunity to showcase the talent of local authors and illustrators.”

Representatives of LibrariesNI and Booktrust will also be present on the day distributing information about their organisations and services and explaining the benefits of membership.

Maura Craig, Derry Central Library, LibrariesNI, said: “WBN is a unique bringing together of industry and media partners, writers and individual members of the public, all of whom are excited to participate in this groundbreaking promotion because of a personal love of books and reading. We greatly encourage this wonderful promotion and are delighted to support it in every way.”

Each free book distributed will carry a unique number and details of how each recipient can register their details online by a specific date if they wish to enter a free draw for the opportunity to win even more books, kindly donated by Easons, Shipquay Books and News, Little Acorns Bookstore, Foyle Books and Irish language bookshop, An Cló Ceart.

Kirk Anderson, Manager of Easons, added: “We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic joint venture. The enthusiasm for what is planned for WBN is exciting.

“The concept provides such a wonderful opportunity to promote books and reading. World Book Day (WBD) itself focuses especially on encouraging children to appreciate the joy of reading and is the biggest WBD campaign in the world.

“WBN complements WBD brilliantly and focuses on adult readers. March 2011 has the potential to be a fantastic month for all of us connected with books and I encourage everyone to support World Book Night in whatever way they can.”

Nat Roche, Shipquay Books and News, continued: “Any incentive that encourages the reading and sharing of books for all ages deserves our full support.

“As upcoming City of Culture, the public should recognise and celebrate what local books are available, both written by local authors and published locally.

“We are proud to stock both Guildhall Press and Yes! Publications on our shelves and hope that World Book Night will generate more interest in their extensive range of titles.”

A growing list of high-profile figures from publishing, media and the arts are lending their support to this ambitious nation-wide initiative by becoming Patrons of World Book Night including Damon Albarn, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Colin Firth, David Gilmour, Antony Gormley, Seamus Heaney, Damien Hirst, Nigella Lawson, Mary Portas, J.K. Rowling and Tilda Swinton.

“WBN is truly an astonishing vision! It mirrors the way books really do move in the world — from one passionate reader to another. The love of writing, the love of reading — these are huge gifts. To be able give someone else a book you treasure widens the gift circle.

“I was thrilled to be asked to support WBN, and doubly thrilled that ‘The Blind Assassin’ was chosen as one of the official giveaway titles. But this one night will be white water rafting, with books!” said Margaret Atwood, Man Booker Prize winner (2000).