Books to be gifted ahead of World Book Night 2021

[PRESS RELEASE] The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the MAC and Libraries NI have come together to encourage bona fide bookworms, families and occasional readers, to settle down, curl up and enjoy this year’s World Book Night celebrations; the annual celebration of reading campaign by The Reading Agency on Friday 23rd April 2021.

To mark the occasion, the Arts Council and the MAC will be gifting 160 free copies of East Belfast-author Glenn Patterson’s latest novel, Where Are We Now? to community groups, book clubs and members of the public. In addition Libraries NI will have copies of the book available in its branches across Northern Ireland for readers to borrow through its Book and Collect service.

One of 22 books chosen to be part of this year’s official UK World Book Night reading list, Where Are we Now? is a moving, funny and topical story about lost love and growing older, set against a backdrop of modern day Belfast.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “World Book Night is open to everyone and is all about celebrating the joy of reading. In a year like no other, so many of us over the last 12 months have reconnected with books and stories, finding precious moments to escape through the page into other places and times.

“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. On World Book Night itself, there will be online activities happening across the UK as well as Reading Hour at 7pm, so there really is an opportunity for everyone to get involved.”

Over the next number of weeks, the MAC will be gifting copies of Where Are We Now? through their Associate Partners, reaching out to people who don’t regularly read for pleasure or have access to books.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC explained: "We are delighted to be taking part in this year’s World Book Night celebrations.

“At the MAC, we believe that the arts have the power to change lives, impact people positively - especially around mental and emotional wellbeing. We’re really pleased to be able to share Glenn Patterson's work with the communities we support – a local writer whose books speaks to the experiences of Northern Irish people. Working with our Associate Partners, including Action Mental Health and Extern, we hope that imaginations will be sparked, and connections will be made with Glenn's story."

Members of the public will also be able to borrow a copy of Where Are We Now? from their local library, with ebooks and audiobook versions also available.

Julie Reid, Deputy Head of Service at Libraries NI added: “So many people have rediscovered books during the COVID pandemic and all the potential benefits of reading including reduced stress, keeping our brains active and increased life satisfaction.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to take part in World Book Night this year so please call your local library to borrow a copy of Where Are We Now?”

For more information go to and follow the Arts Council online on Twitter @ArtsCouncilNI and Facebook

To borrow a copy of Glenn Patterson’s Where Are We Now?, contact your local library or visit

For media enquiries, please contact Sarah Coburn, Communications Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, e: [email protected]