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World Book Night 'the biggest literary event ever'

24th February 2011

Next month's World Book Night is being billed as the biggest literary event in history by its organisers, with over 10,000 people expected to attend a public reading in Trafalgar Square, London, and thousands more to benefit from free books.

Inspired by the success of World Book Day, the occasion will see dozens of celebrated authors from around the world descend on the city to read their own work, meet the public and take part in a mass giveaway of a million books.

Publisher Jamie Byng, chair of the event, said the public reading on March 4th is unprecedented in scale and has attracted literary giants including Alan Bennett, Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman.

'We felt that it was appropriate to launch World Book Night with a suitably ambitious event that celebrates on a large scale writing, reading and the shared experience that books can provide,' he explained.

Thousands of volunteers will help to hand out the million books on March 5th, which comprise 25 titles including Atwood's The Blind Assassin, Bennett's A Life Like Other People's and Pullman's Northern Lights, the first of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy.

Across the UK, 20,000 people will be giving out 48 copies each, with the works spanning a range of literary genres and including both well-known bestsellers and 'hidden gems'.

All Quiet on the Western Front sits alongside Carol Ann Duffy's poetry collection The World's Wife, while bestseller Dissolution by C.J. Sansom will be handed out with Yann Martel's Man Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi.

A full list of the 25 titles being given away on the night can be found here.

The event has also been welcomed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who said World Book Night and the hundreds of connected events taking place around the UK will 'stimulate latent as well as avid readers'.

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