Book Week NI is back for a week-long celebration of books, reading, and libraries, running from Monday 16th October to Sunday 22nd October 2023.
Now in its eighth year, Book Week NI is a collaborative effort between the BBC and Libraries NI. It encompasses special BBC features and reports, as well as a bustling schedule of events in local libraries. School and university libraries are also participating, and there will be activities aimed at supporting bus and train travellers in their pursuit of reading and listening to books during their journeys.
Libraries NI will be hosting numerous Book Week events online. Additionally, there will be added excitement coinciding with Love Your Library Day on Wednesday 18th October. On this day, everyone is encouraged to pay a visit to their preferred library space. This provides an opportunity to explore what’s available, renew library memberships, and take advantage of borrowing a selection of good books.
Keep an eye out for the #BookWeekNI hashtag across BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI social media platforms throughout the week. There will be ample discussion about Book Week-related stories, events, and reading recommendations. Notable figures, including the writers and cast of Blue Lights, Carl Frampton, Tara Mills, Declan Harvey, the BBC team in Foyle, BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny, and many others, will be participating in Our Big Read – sharing their current reading choices that they believe others might also enjoy.
BBC Radio 2 Book Club with Zoe Ball will be joining in the Book Week NI festivities, with local crime writer Steve Cavanagh as the recommended read for October.
Blue Peter is also getting involved, encouraging local schoolchildren (aged 5-15) to participate in its brand new Book Club. In doing so, they can earn a special Blue Peter Book Badge. Joel M will be explaining the details and making a visit to a local library. Additionally, it’s worth noting that all this Book Week excitement aligns with Blue Peter’s 65th birthday!
BBC Radio Ulster presenters will be taking on a 60-second Book Week challenge – sharing their favourite book and explaining why it holds significance for them in a fast-paced, Our Big Read minute.
“A Box Of Delights”, which premiered as part of Book Week NI in 2022, will once again be available on BBC Sounds. This features the Ulster Orchestra and special guests in a concert that draws inspiration from books like “Beauty And The Beast”, “Mary Poppins”, “Bridget Jones”, and “Harry Potter”.
Also on BBC Radio Ulster on Monday 16th October at 7:30pm, Blas: Ón Taobhlíne will review “Limitless”, the memoir of open water swimmer Nuala Moore. At 8pm, Ralph McLean will interview soul queen PP Arnold about her memoir “Soul Survivor”.
BBC Radio Ulster’s Connor Phillips will host an outside broadcast from Larne Library starting at 10:30am on Love Your Library Day (18th October). Furthermore, The Mark Patterson Show on Radio Foyle will be broadcast live from Central Library on Foyle Street in Londonderry.
On Thursday 19th October, Blas welcomes Darragh Adelaide to review the newly published book “Black and Irish”, and writer Sláine Ní Chathalláin will discuss her newly published book “Nain” – a tribute to the wit and charm of her 86-year-old grandmother Máirín.
Kerry McLean will curate some fantastic, book-inspired playlists during her weekend morning programmes. Culture Café and Classical Connections will also be part of the Book Week celebrations, engaging in live outside broadcasts from The Helicon at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy.
Your Place And Mine is also joining in the celebration of Book Week NI, asking contributors to nominate a favourite book that evokes a sense of place.
The BBC anticipate that many schools will have their own roster of events, celebrating their library spaces and getting involved in what’s happening on the BBC’s airwaves and throughout the library network. The same will be true at Queen’s University, Ulster University, and the Open University.
Libraries NI’s online events will include author Claire Allan in conversation with BBC Radio Ulster’s Richard O’Reilly on October 16th, author Lisa Jewell in conversation with crime writer Steve Cavanagh on October 17th, Jess Kidd, author of “Things In Jars”, in conversation with book critic John Self on October 17th, and multi-award-winning crime novelist Peter James in conversation with BBC Radio Ulster’s Kathy Clugston on October 19th.
Additionally, there will be a series of talks in collaboration with the Open University taking place in libraries throughout the week. These include “Uncovering Family Histories: Drawing Inspiration from the Past” in Lisburn City Library on Monday 16th October, and “Why Reading is like a Hug for your Brain” in Bangor Carnegie Library on Wednesday 18th October.
Details on how to get involved in these events can be found online here.