Take action for Writers at Risk on World Book Night

On 23 April, English PEN will be joining thousands of individuals, organisations and institutions across the UK to celebrate the fifth year of World Book Night and to give books to those that need them the most.

To mark World Book Night 2015, we will once again be sending books to writers at risk around the world, and asking members and supporters to do the same. Over the last four years, World Book Night titles have reached writers in prison from Turkey to Vietnam. This year we hope to reach even more writers worldwide, including novelist and poet Omar Hazek, currently imprisoned in Egypt; veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu, sentenced to seven years in prison last week; and academic Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace, currently on hunger strike in Bahrain.

In light of our recent Books for Prisoners campaign, we will also be sending books to prisons here in the UK this year. Whilst the restrictions on sending books to family and friends in UK prisons were eased earlier this year, we are still hearing from people who are having difficulties getting books to their loved ones. We are therefore continuing to support initiatives such as the Book Rooms at Wormwood Scrubs to help increase the availability of books, and urge our members to consider doing the same.

You don’t have to be an official World Book Night giver to send a book. In fact, in order to maximise the number of readers reached in their fifth year, the World Book Night team is encouraging as many people as possible to take part by donating a book of their choice:

In order to reach even more readers, this year World Book Night are encouraging as many people as possible to give books away on 23 April. We only have a limited supply of World Book Night books, so we’d love you to provide and give out any book you choose on the night – one you already own, or one you buy specially. You can also choose whoever you want to give the book to – a friend, a member of your community, a complete stranger. Tell us about your choice here and on Twitter and Facebook.

And our book of choice? This year, we will be sending some of the titles our Writers in Translation programme has supported over the last ten years. If you would like to send one of these – and perhaps read one yourself! – do visit our dedicated website, English PEN’s World Bookshelf.

Join us in sending books this World Book Night – email cat@englishpen.org for details.

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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