Community Groups gifted free books celebrating World Book Night 2021

[Press Release] The MAC, in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, has gifted 110 books to community groups in celebration of World Book Night 2021 which takes place today, Friday 23rd April 2021.

The UK-wide annual celebration of reading is organised by The Reading Agency and this year’s theme is ‘Books to Make You Smile’. To mark its 10th anniversary, World Book Night is donating millions of books to organisations and individuals across the country, encouraging people to reconnect with the written word and share the pleasure of reading.

Belfast author, Glenn Patterson’s latest novel Where Are We Now? is one of 22 books on the official World Book Night reading list this year and the MAC is working with its community partners to distribute copies of the book to groups across Northern Ireland.

Elisha Gormley from the MAC, said,

“At the MAC, we believe that the arts have the power to change lives, shift perspective and cultivate better mental and emotional wellbeing. On World Book Night 2021 we are celebrating the power of literature, with ACNI and Libraries NI, by delivering copies of Glenn Patterson's fantastic book, Where Are We Now?, to our local communities and book groups. Working with our Associate Partners, including Action Mental Health and The Rainbow Project, we hope Glenn's story, which speaks to the experiences of many Northern Irish people, will spark imaginations and in reading together, foster better wellbeing.”

Among the groups which the MAC is gifting copies to is Action Mental Health.

Gillian Carr from Action Mental Health, commented,

“We want to say a huge thank you for the very kind donation. It will make a huge impact to so many of our clients who are isolated and alone during lockdown. Having a good book to read will help to make their day more enjoyable and we will also be using it for discussion at our book clubs. The donated books have been shared across several Action Mental Health New Horizons services including Fermanagh, Foyle, Belfast, Newtownards, Antrim, and Downpatrick. Thank you to the MAC for all they do to support AMH Services and our clients.”

Aisling Doherty from Action Mental Health continued:

“Our Book Club members are thrilled to receive copies of Glenn Patterson’s new novel and are so looking forward to reading it. Reading forms such a huge part of mental health recovery. It is a way of connecting with others even though we have had to be physically disconnected during recent lockdowns. Thank you to the MAC, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Libraries NI.”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, thanks to The Reading Agency, has also gifted books to reading groups and members of the public, while Libraries NI have made copies of Where Are We Now? available in its branches across Northern Ireland for readers to borrow through its Book and Collect service.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said,

“World Book Night is all about celebrating the joy of reading and the many benefits that it brings into our lives - whether that’s through trying something brand new or rediscovering an old favourite.

“All of the books chosen for this year’s official World Book Night reading list are based around the theme of Books To Make You Smile and we are very pleased to see a book from Northern Ireland writer Glenn Patterson – one of our most celebrated contemporary authors - included as a recommended read.

“This is a fantastic initiative and we are delighted that so many community groups here will benefit from it through free books. We’d encourage everyone to get involved in tonight’s celebrations, whether that’s taking time out to spend with a good book or reading together as a family.”

Celebrations on World Book Night will include a virtual event hosted by The British Library, featuring Nobel Prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation with Kate Mosse, bestselling author of The City of Tears and founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction (6-7pm). Ishiguro, who was a World Book Night author in 2012, will be discussing his new novel Klara and the Sun as well as the wider impact of his writing on readers.

The Reading Agency is also inviting the whole nation to join in #ReadingHour (7-8pm), when everyone is encouraged to read, in any format they want, wherever they like.

Over the last ten years, The Reading Agency has distributed over 2,800,000 books to help spread the joy of reading, with 245 titles by 205 authors distributed by over 90,000 volunteers and organisations across the UK.

To mark its 10th anniversary this year World Book Night will be hosting a number of virtual events, book giveaways, online activities and promotions, calling for the whole nation to celebrate reading for pleasure. To find out more go to or visit the World Book Night website