REPRESENTATION World Book Night and World Book and Copyright Day


World Book Night and World Book and Copyright Day falls on April 23rd each year. Eva Wong Nava, feature editor of Representation, takes a look at what this day entails.


“The power of books must be fully harnessed. We must ensure access to them so that all people find refuge in reading and can thus dream, learn and reflect.” – Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

April is special to me for many reasons. It’s the month that my father, husband, and William Shakespeare celebrate their birthdays. While my father celebrates his 93rd on April 24th, my husband will celebrate his 57th on April 23rd, which happens to be the same day that William Shakespeare would be celebrating his birthday if he were still alive. But, as it happened, Shakespeare also died on his birthday, so literary folks worldwide will be remembering this great bard on the 23rd of April. Now, imagine the feels when I discovered that April 23rd is significant for another reason: World Book Night and World Book and Copyright Day.


I also discovered some literary trivia about April 23rd and thought it’d be fun to share with you here: William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, all renowned male writers, died on this day.


This became the day that we celebrate books and promote reading for pleasure, or as UNESCO calls it the enjoyment of books and reading, paying tribute to authors worldwide and their right to own their work – copyright UNESCO.


This is also day that we remember how books help to promote empathy and compassion, how they can be tools to share ideas and diversity of thought. Tools to build cultural understanding and to pass down our heritages. It’s a day we uphold, as authors, the equal access to knowledge through text and images.

Cities Of Literature

A montage of different Cities of Literature – Dunedin, Exeter, Durban, Edinburgh, Gothenburg and Granada

Imagine a bridge made from books. A book-bridge that connects us to different cities in the world. Cities ceremoniously known for literature. Cities like Edinburgh, Exeter, Nottingham, Nanjing, Melbourne and Montevideo to name a few.

“UNESCO's City of Literature programme is part of a wider Creative Cities Network which was launched in 2004 and is currently made up of 295 UNESCO Creative Cities globally. Members are drawn from more than 90 countries and cover seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. The Network was born out of UNESCO's Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity initiative, which was created in 2002.” (From Cities of Literature website)


Imagine a night of reading: World Book Night, founded by The Reading Agency, celebrates #ReadingHour from 7-8 pm on April 23rd. Gather with friends and family to share in the joy of reading. You can do this in several ways: listen to an audio book, read alone, read aloud, reading to your children at bedtime, hold a book club meeting.

Banner for #Reading Hour (credit: The Reading Agency)

The Reading Agency has come up with Quick Reads, focussing on shorter books with great stories by bestselling authors for time-poor adults and children. There’s no excuse not to read on April 23rd. Books, as has oft been said, save lives. Gather with loved ones to read a book. I’ll be eating cake and reading debut author, Dev Kothari’s, Bringing Back Kay-Kay, a 2024 middle-grade book by Walker Books.

The six Quick Reads (credit: The Reading Agency)  

You can read an interview with Dev Kothari here.


Cover of Bringing Back Kay-Kay, by Dev Kothari

* Header illustration by Ell Rose


Eva Wong Nava is a writer, reader and advocate for reading for pleasure. She writes all sorts of picture books to ensure that young children from the age of three start their lives with memorable stories. Find Eva on her website and her socials @evawongnava. 


Ell Rose is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures.

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