Tag Archives: World Book Night

The World Book Night Cycle Tour


Debra from Queen’s Park Library and Maureen, a regular volunteer, set off from the Library on Saturday loaded up with books to give away for the World Book Night 2017 event .

Unfortunately, in the rush to get to the lunch club at St Peter Elgin Avenue, the actual World Book Night book, ‘Of Mice and Men’ was left behind.

So while Maureen did brisk business giving away the books at the lunch club, Debra whizzed back to the library and picked up a stack of the missing books. This worked out well as several copies were handed over to startled members of the public at bus stops and traffic lights along the length of the Harrow Road.

After the lunch club, bikes were reloaded and Maureen and Debra headed over to the Spring Sale at WECH’s community space for more chatting about books and giving away titles to happy recipients.

Finally, the pair headed back to the library with the few books that were left.

It was a great way to connect with people from the community who do not (yet) use their local library.


Marylebone Lives

Marylebone lives, by Carl UpsallThe extraordinary stories of those who have lived in and around the area certainly brought a lot of people into Marylebone Library recently – a record-breaking number attended the ‘Marylebone Lives ‘ event. Everyone had a great evening hearing from Carl Upsall and Mark Riddaway as they delved into some historical essays on the people, places and events that have helped shape the character of the area.

We learned about, for example:

James Figg
The ‘King of the Marylebone Plains’, who initially made a living fighting for money at local fairs and developed a fearful reputation by defeating all challengers. Under  the patronage of the Earl of Peterborough, Figg was able to open an arena in Marylebone Fields, just north of Oxford Street. The arena was known as Figg’s  amphitheatre and became home to an academy at which Figg taught other young fighters.

Florence Nightingale
Nightingale worked at 90 Harley Street and became known as the ’ lady with the lamp’. She did much to make nursing a respectable profession for women: before her, nurses were lower class women with no specific medical training who followed the army around, fulfilling any functions required of them.

Marylebone lives: rogues, romantics and rebels – character studies of locals since the eighteenth century is a must-read book for anyone interested in the social and local history of the Marylebone area.

Carl Upsall and Mark Riddaway at Marylebone Library April 2016Thanks to Carl and Mark for such an entertaining evening.



Love, War and Public Libraries for World Book Night

World Book Night 201623 April, as well as being Shakespeare’s (Smyth’s, Cervantes’, Neames’ and Hartnell’s) anniversary, is of course World Book Night.

Westminster libraries joined in the fun, with free copies of several of the WBN titles being given out at six libraries.

Paddington Library‘s World Book Night event tied in nicely with the Shakespearean theme, as author Barrie Stacey‘s background is the theatre. Barrie gave a humorous account of his life in the theatre world, including the many famous people he met and got to know over more than fifty years. He also talked about his latest book Love in the Afternoon, which is an entertaining and original novel about love, a failed marriage followed by a late flowering of romance.

The audience were really taken by Barrie’s interesting and varied real life and were delighted to buy signed copies of his novel having met the author, as well as receiving free copies of Elizabeth Buchan’s novel I can’t begin to tell you, set in Denmark  during the second World War.

In wartime: stories from Ukraine, by Tim JudahThe situation in Ukraine is one which is really not well known in the west, which is why Tim Judah’s talk on his book In Wartime at Victoria Library was so enlightening. It was great to get the information direct from someone who was actually on the ground as the civil strife developed and his insider knowledge really came through.

The talk was punctuated by images taken from the ground and Tim offered some excellent insights into what life is like for people in Ukraine. The talk led into quite a lively political discussion and it was great to have so many people with such a clear interest in the current strife participating. We felt especially privileged to have Tim with us for World Book Night when we realised his next appointment was in Kiev!

Tim Judah tweet 23 April 2016

There was one last World Book Night gift to come… We were delighted to receive free copies of Bailey’s Prize winning author Ali Smith’s Public Library and other stories, along with a letter passing on her thanks for the “brilliant work of librarians across the UK”. Thanks for your support, Ali! You can find a copy of Public Library in every library – borrow or reserve a copy now.

Public Library and other stories, by Ali Smith

[Laurence and Nick]

April in Queen’s Park

The Riot by Laura WilsonApril is a busy month for readers, with Cityread and World Book Night offering lots of opportunities to share books.

Queen’s Park Library recently held events to celebrate both occasions, beginning with a talk by award-winning crime novelist and Guardian critic Laura Wilson.

Laura has written a range of contemporary and historical fiction, but this evening she focused on The Riot, set during the 1958 Notting Hill race riots and very much in keeping with this year’s Cityread theme of social unrest and disorder. Laura described her research into the riots and offered a fascinating glimpse into an area that has changed so much in recent years, before explaining why she chose to place her fictional detective, DI Stratton, in this setting. An audience of Laura Wilson fans and locals keen to find out more about the area’s history made for a very lively question and answer session following the talk.

Author Laura Wilson at Queen's Park Library, April 2016

Then on Saturday 16 April, local young people enjoyed an early World Book Night event and the chance to get a free copy of fantasy novel Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, one of this year’s WBN titles. The group voted on which film to watch from a choice of three, each based on a young adult fantasy novel. ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ was the clear winner and seemed a good choice – the audience was unusually quiet throughout and the film earned a round of applause at the end!

Clapper board / reels of filmWe run film events aimed at 11 -16 year olds quite regularly, and the great thing for the library is that they attract such a wide audience: boys as well as girls, book fans and more reluctant readers. We’d like to work with teenagers to develop future library events, so if any young people would like to get involved and boost their CVs in the process they should definitely get in touch!


London in fiction – for World Book Night

The Hidden Girl by Louise MillarOn World Book Night Pimlico Library hosted a talk by two psychological thriller authors, Louise Voss and Louise Millar, who are part of the Killer Women group.

Focussing on the representation of London in their fiction, the authors also discussed their respective routes into writing and the creative process.

There was a lively discussion on many topics. The audience was particularly interested in the fact that Louise Voss co-authors books with Mark Edwards. They were intrigued by the writing process and the experience of writing alongside another author.

World Book Night 2015 at Pimlico Library, with authors Louise Voss and Louise Millar

As it was World Book Night, after the discussion attendees were given free copies of either the Cityread London title Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch  or the WBN title Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton.


Writing about Russia

Paddington Library hosted an interesting event to celebrate World Book Night on 23 April. Four authors – Vanora Bennett, Francis Spufford, Peter Higgins and William Ryan – who specialise in writing fiction and non-fiction about Russia, conducted a panel discussion about the pleasures and challenges of this fascinating subject.

World Book Night 2015 at Paddington Library

The authors gave first hand accounts of their visits to Russia and the sacrifices and hardships the Russian people have had to endure. I got the impression that Russia and the former Soviet Union are topsy turvy worlds in which nothing is what it seems. At the end they signed copies of their books. To explore their works, visit the library catalogue and search for books by Vanora Bennett, Francis Spufford, Peter Higgins and William Ryan

World Book Night 2015 at Paddington LibraryThe four writers kindly gave their time to support World Book Night and as part of the celebrations, members of the audience were all given a free copy of Elizabeth Fremantle‘s historical novel The Queen’s Gambit which is about the life of Katherine Parr, the 6th wife of King Henry VIII.


World Book Night – sharing and compassion

World Book Night 2014Books inspire people to be compassionate to those who are different, according to American author Emily Winslow. The writer of ‘The Start of Everything’ – a psychological thriller which explores the murder of a teenage girl, was at Paddington Library on Wednesday 23 April, discussing how reading has shaped her life. She said:

“The biggest thing as a reader and as a writer is that books inspire me to be compassionate to people who are different.”

The event was part of World Book Night, an annual celebration of reading. As well as speaking to library-goers about her works, Emily took to the streets with library staff to give out books free of charge to passers-by – nearly 250 books were given away!

Speaking after the event, Emily said:

“I have been incredibly impressed with Paddington Library – the building, the resources, and the people. Westminster is lucky to have resources like this, and I would encourage local families to make full use of them.”

Somebody who does make full use of Westminster libraries is Westminster Academy student Maura Miglietti. Maura, currently studying for her GCSEs, was at the World Book Night event and said:

“Me and my friends use local libraries every day, especially Paddington and Queen’s Park Library. They have lots of good books and are a great place to study!”

Shabnab and Avery meeting Emily Winslow at Paddington Library, World Book Night 2014

Also in the crowd were Paddington residents Shabnab and Avery, who were given a signed copy of Emily’s book after her talk (pictured). Shabnab said:

“I loved tonight’s World Book Night event, and use Paddington library all the time to loan books as well as DVDs. They help me with my English!”

If you came along to any of our Triborough World Book Night celebrations, or if you were given a free book, we hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget – there are thousands more free (to borrow) books at your local library!

[Eve and Jack]