The Reading Agency’s annual celebration of books and reading, hosted by Bobby Seagull
This event takes place in the British Library Theatre. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical) or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links for the online version will be sent out shortly before the event.
Join us in person at the British Library Theatre, or online, to celebrate World Book Night, as leading writers share their love of reading and add to spark our own.
This year, The Reading Agency is hosting a Saturday night of sharing stories for World Book Night. Join us at the British Library Theatre – or online – for an intimate conversation with some of this year’s World Book Night authors, plus authors of Quick Reads, which are accessible and easy-to-read short books and great stories for all readers.
Our guests will be talking about their books, why they tell the stories they do and the stories that have shaped their own lives. This year, World Book Night is bringing story lovers of all backgrounds together for one reason – to inspire others to read more.
Our host for the evening, Bobby Seagull, is joined by World Book Night author Dr Alex George (Live Well Every Day), Quick Reads authors Lemn Sissay (My Name is Why) and Ayisha Malik (Sofia Khan and the Baby Blues), and author and Ambassador for The Reading Agency Dreda Say Mitchell (Say Her Name).
Dr Alex George is an A&E and TV doctor and author of Live Well Every Day. He has been working in A&E as an emergency doctor throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has become a well-known and respected figure amongst healthcare professionals in the UK, bringing the nation accessible and reassuring advice directly from the frontline. Alex is on a mission to make mental health education compulsory in schools, and has become prolific throughout the UK in his campaigning with charities such as YoungMinds, Anna Freud Centre & Mind, with a goal to ensure mental health sits alongside the likes of Maths and English on the curriculum. Alex has now been appointed by the Prime Minister as Youth Mental Health Ambassador to the government. Alex is a resident presenter on ITV's Lorraine, has presented for Watchdog and also appeared on Celebrity Masterchef. Alex is also a fully qualified Level 3 PT.
Ayisha Malik was born and raised in South London and is a lover of books (obviously), and writer of contemporary fiction. A former publicist at Penguin Random House, turned managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, turned full-time writer. Her debut novel, Sofia Khan is not Obliged, and its sequel, The Other Half of Happiness, (Zaffre), were dubbed as the 'Muslim Bridget Jones.' Her latest novel, This Green and Pleasant Land, (Zaffre) is out now. She has also contributed to the anthology, A Change is Gonna Come, (Stripes Publishing), and upcoming collection, A Match Made in Heaven, (Hope Road Publishing). Malik is also known for ghost-writing Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain's, adult books.
Dreda Say Mitchell is a best-selling award-winning author who was appointed an MBE for her services to literature and education work in prisons. She scooped the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger Award in 2004, the first time a Black British author has received this honour. She writes with her writing partner, Ryan Carter across the crime and mystery genre and was one of 12 international female writers chosen to reimagine Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple in a new anthology of short stories. Their psychological thriller, Spare Room, was a #1 UK and US Amazon best-seller. They performed a specially commissioned monologue on the ground-breaking SkyArts50 on Sky TV. Dreda is a passionate campaigner and speaker on social issues and the arts. She has appeared on radio and TV including presenting BBC Radio 4’s flagship Books programme, Open Book and written in a number of leading newspapers, including The Guardian. She was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She is a trustee of the Royal Literary Fund and an ambassador of the Reading Agency.
Bobby Seagull is a school maths teacher, author and TV presenter. He rose to prominence through captaining Emmanuel College of Cambridge on BBC quiz show University Challenge. Before becoming an educator, Bobby was an investment banking trader at Lehman Brothers & Nomura and qualified as Chartered Accountant at PwC. He is also an ambassador for the charity National Numeracy and a columnist for the Financial Times. Bobby is the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers and co-presenter of the podcast Maths Appeal. He co-wrote The Monkman & Seagull Quiz Book and co-presents BBC TV series Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guides. He is also quiz host for Channel 4's The Answer Trap.
Lemn Sissay MBE is a BAFTA-nominated International prize winning writer. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature, The Pen Pinter Prize and a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister.
World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency and celebrated each year on 23 April, the UNESCO International Day of the Book. World Book Night brings people from all backgrounds together for one reason – to inspire others to read more. Since 2011, organisations and individuals have held events up and down the country to celebrate the difference that reading makes to their lives. Books are given out across the UK with a focus on reaching those who don’t regularly read, and are gifted through organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters, as well as by passionate individuals who give out their own books within their communities.
Quick Reads, part of The Reading Agency, aims to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone, including the one in three adults in the UK who do not regularly read for pleasure, and the one in six adults in the UK who find reading difficult. The scheme changes lives and plays a vital role in addressing the national crisis around adult literacy in the UK. Each year, Quick Reads commissioning editor Fanny Blake works with UK publishers to commission high profile authors to write short, engaging books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. Since 2006, over 5 million books have been distributed through the initiative, 5 million library loans (PLR) have been registered and through outreach work hundreds of thousands of new readers each year have been introduced to the joys and benefits of reading. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes.
The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We work closely with partners to develop and deliver programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds; our vision is for a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life. We help 1.9 million people benefit from reading every year, through our programmes, our tireless campaigning, our excellent networks and our power to influence, challenge and make change happen. The Reading Agency is funded by Arts Council England.
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