World Book Day is happening RIGHT NOW

Today, as most people reading this will be aware, is World Book Day, the self-explanatory global celebration of reading with a particular focus on encouraging children and young people to read: vouchers are distributed, books given away for free and, following the success of last year’s efforts, an event organisers are calling The Biggest Book Show On Earth will be streaming live on the World Book Day website for an hour from 11am to classrooms (and more) across the country.

Over the course of that hour, nine speakers will, in five minute segments, take viewers through the process of writing a book. The ever popular Tony Robinson kicks things off with, appropriately, how to get started. He is followed by:

  • Liz Pichon, author and illustrator of My Big Brother Boris, on how to capture ideas and plan writing
  • Charlie and Lola mastermind Lauren Child on how to develop characters
  • The venerable Shirley Hughes, beloved creator of Dogger and Alfie, on how to illustrate
  • Illustrator Guy Park-Rees, of Giraffes Can’t Dance fame, on how to draw animal characters
  • Teen author Cathy Cassidy on how to structure a story
  • Horrid Henry‘s Francesca Simon on how to bring characters to life
  • Anthony Horowitz, of Anthony Horowitz fame, on how to build suspense
  • And Rachel Bright on illustrating book covers

The event is free to watch online, and is also being streamed to Picturehouse cinemas, where visiting students will be able to see an exclusive Q&A session with the authors and take part in a fancy dress contest.

All school students across the country, as per tradition, will also receive a £1 World Book Day token, which can be redeemed in all high street bookshops against any book, or specifically against one of the eight specially priced £1 World Book Day titles, effectively granting token holders a free book. This year’s selected titles are drawn from the work of the authors participating in the online session: Tony Robinson and Del Thorpe’s Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: Funny Inventions; Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates: Best Book Day Ever! (so far); Lauren Child’s Hang In There Bozo; Shirley Hughes’ Alfie’s Shop; Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’ Giraffes Can’t Dance Colouring and Puzzle Fun; Cathy Cassidy’s The Chocolate Box Girls: Bittersweet; Francesca Simon and Tony Ross’ Horrid Henry’s Guide to Perfect Parents; and Anthony Horowitz’s The Diamond Brothers in…Two of Diamonds. An app featuring a selection of stories for young adults is also available for free download.

Anthony Horowitz, Cathy Cassidy, Francesca Simon, Guy Park-Rees, Lauren Child, Liz Pichon, Rachel Bright, Shirley Hughes, The Biggest Book Show on Earth, Tony Robinson, World Book Day

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.


  • […] Today, 23 April, is known across the world as the day when Harold Bloom traditionally lays a single red rose at the entrance to the Globe Theatre and sighs wistfully, i.e. the date of Shakespeare’s birth and death. As every literary murder truther knows, it is also the recorded date of Cervantes’ death, the very same year as Shakespeare’s (and you thought we had it rough when Princess Di and Mother Theresa died in the same week). In what is either a massively fortuitous coincidence or somehow deliberately planned to commemorate these events, 23 April is also the UNESCO-appointed international day of the book, upon which is celebrated World Book Night, the post-watershed equivalent to the more kid-oriented World Book Day. […]

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