World Book Night is back and is determined to get more of us reading than ever. They’ve picked 20 books to distribute to anyone who wants them — including titles by Agatha Christie, Ben Aaronovitch, Dreda Say Mitchell, Matt Haig and Bernadine Evaristo — and your best bet of picking up a freebie is to go to one of the official World Book Night events.
London’s flagship night is in Lewisham, at the brand new and shiny Glass Mill leisure centre opposite the station. Dreda Say Mitchell will be in attendance, plus Sarah Mussi, Nadeem Masood and Sheila Bugler. It all starts at 8pm.
In London libraries elsewhere, Dorothy Koomson will be in Woolwich (5.30pm), Prajwal Parajuly in Pimlico (6pm), Max Décharné in Kensington (6pm), Louise Miller in Hampton (7.30pm), Courttia Newland in Shepherd’s Bush (5pm), Emily Winslow in Paddington (6pm), Siobhan Clarke in Sutton (7pm) and last but by absolutely no means least, the wonderful John Hegley in Hillingdon (6pm).
There are also celebrations that don’t have specifically invited guests. Wembley library marks Shakepeare’s birthday with a pop-up Shakespearean theatre (5pm), Eltham hosts an award ceremony for the Eltham Arts Short Story Competition (library open until 8pm), there’s a party in Shepherd’s Bush plus the library’s rickshaw distributing books between Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith, and London Loveiosa, the London chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, is at Paddington station between 3.30pm and 10.30pm.
All these events are free but you might be wise to reserve a place in advance. See the World Book Night website for contact details for each venue.