So, as I’m sure many of you know, last Tuesday was World Book Night 2013, and this year, I decided to join in the fun and apply to become a ‘giver.’ In case anyone’s not sure, World Book Night has been going for three years now and involves a selection of books being handed out for free by volunteer givers. The idea behind it is to make reading more accessible and to encourage those who have less access to books to have a go at reading one.
Now, there are those who don’t think this is such a great thing, despite liking the principle of increased accessibility to books. They ask whether it does authors and booksellers any great favours for this volume of books to be handed out free of charge. Last year, Nicola Morgan, who I greatly admire, made a very eloquent case for an alternative method of promoting reading, which you can read here. I tend to agree with her points… Also, I’ve started to notice that World Book Night books from the previous two years are appearing for sale in charity shops and second hand bookshops, when the whole point is that these are books that shouldn’t be bought and sold, but given to those who would like to read them.
So it seems very hypercritical then, that I put myself forward this year! Well, I work in community engagement and volunteering (until I get my big break as an author that is – she dreams!) and regularly visit community centres and charities in areas where there’s a lot of disadvantage. To bring books to these places just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, and I’m fairly confident that I’ve reached people who might not otherwise get much encouragement to read.
Despite my mixed feelings, I have to say I was really delighted to be handing out copies of The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. True, it’s an incredibly sad book, but it’s one that’s really stuck in my mind and made me ask some pretty fundamental questions – hopefully the copies I’ve sent out into the world will inspire others to think and question themselves too.
In terms of my own writing news, I don’t have to much to report… I continue to do reasonably well in the Write Invite competitions (which I have to say are quite addictive – I do it most Saturdays now…) though have yet to reach the top three. Magazine editors continue to encourage me as well, which is great, though of course, I’d love it if they actually bought some of my work! I’ve joined an online critique group though, and it’s really helpful to gain some honest feedback from people who write short stories too. Lots of them are very successful with their writing so it’s definitely a good move 🙂
To finish off, here are a couple of competitions to get stuck into – I’m planning to enter both 🙂
Good luck if you decide to have a go too!