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World Book Days

1 March 2004

World Book Day in the UK runs this Thursday, 4th March. Backed by 33 publishers and a large number of other bodies, this year it will also have a large online festival.

Launched on Thursday but available online going forward, the festival will showcase a fantastic line-up of authors giving interviews, readings and live chat sessions, providing unique insights into their reading and writing lives. Amongst the writers involved are J K Rowling, making a rare appearance, Nick Hornby, Sarah Waters, Jacqueline Wilson (the much-loved children's author who has just become the most-borrowed author in the UK) and the crime-writer Minette Walters.

You can also meet and chat with fellow book lovers online, sharing your reading loves, surfing the net for new reading ideas and exploring new genres and titles.

Although World Book Day is focused on UK library visitors and children, providing the kids with £1 book tokens to encourage book purchase, the Festival has something for all ages, and all events will be archived, so you can return to them at any time.

For its own World Book and Copyright Day UNESCO is sticking with 23rd April, which marks anniversaries relating to William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. Many events are planned all over the world.

Although there is some scepticism about the effect of such celebrations, they do raise awareness of and interest in books. An online festival may prove the best way to go, making World Book Day available all over the world, at any time, in a way that is cheap to access. Perhaps this is the year that the online festival will enable it to reach out globally, making it truly the world's book day.