Book Week NI returns for a conversation-filled celebration of books, reading and libraries from Monday 16 October-Sunday 22 October 2023.
Published 12 Oct 2023
Photo: Lynette Fay, Suzie Lee, Julie Gilmour Vice Chairperson of Libraries NI Board, Adam Smyth Director BBC NI and Ralph Mclean.
Now in its eighth year, Book Week NI is a joint initiative by the BBC and Libraries NI. It involves special BBC features and reports and a busy programme of events in local libraries. School and university libraries are also involved. And there’ll be activities to support bus and train travellers to get reading and listening to books on their journeys as well.
Libraries NI will be hosting several Book Week events online and there will be some additional excitement coinciding with Love Your Library Day on Wednesday 18 October, when everyone is encouraged to make a visit to their favourite library space - seeing what’s on offer, renewing their library membership and taking the opportunity to borrow a few good books.
Keep an eye out for the #BookWeekNI hashtag across BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI social media channels during the week, as there’ll be plenty of chat about Book Week-related stories, events and reading recommendations. Lots of well-known people will be joining Our Big Read - sharing what they’re reading right now and think that everyone else might enjoy. The writers and cast of Blue Lights are involved, along with Carl Frampton, Tara Mills and Declan Harvey, the BBC team in Foyle, BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny and many more besides.
BBC Radio 2 Book Club with Zoe Ball is joining the Book Week NI fun, with local crime writer Steve Cavanagh as its recommended read for October.
Blue Peter is also involved and we are encouraging local schoolchildren (5-15yrs) to get involved with its brand new Book Club - and earn themselves a special Blue Peter Book Badge. Joel M will be telling everyone what’s involved and making a visit to a local library. And we’re delighted that all of this Book Week fun and busyness coincides with Blue Peter’s 65th birthday!
BBC Radio Ulster presenters will be taking a 60 secs Book Week challenge - telling listeners about their favourite book and why it matters to them in a fast-talking, Our Big Read minute.
A Box Of Delights, which was first broadcast as part of Book Week NI 2022, will be available again on BBC Sounds. It features the Ulster Orchestra and special guests in a concert that features book associations including Beauty And The Beast, Mary Poppins, Bridget Jones and Harry Potter.
Also on BBC Radio Ulster on Monday 16 October at 7.30pm Blas: Ón Taobhlíne reviews Limitless, the memoir or open water swimmer Nuala Moore, and at 8pm, Ralph McLean talks to soul queen PP Arnold about her memoir Soul Survivor.
BBC Radio Ulster’s Connor Phillips will host an outside broadcast from Larne Library from 10.30am on Love Your Library Day (18 October) and The Mark Patterson Show on Radio Foyle will be broadcast live from Central Library on Londonderry’s Foyle Street.
On Thursday 19 October, Blas welcomes Darragh Adelaide to review the newly published Black and Irish book and writer Sláine Ní Chathalláin will talk about her newly published book “Nain” – a tribute to the wit and charm of her 86-year-old grandmother Máirín.
Kerry McLean will have some great, book-inspired playlists on her weekend morning programmes and Culture Café and Classical Connections will join the Book Week celebrations and conversations in live outside broadcasts from The Helicon at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy.
Your Place And Mine is also celebrating Book Week NI and will be asking contributors to nominate a favourite book that conveys a sense of place.
We expect that many schools will have their own programme of events, celebrating their library spaces and joining in what’s happening on the BBC’s airwaves and across the library network. And the same will be happening at Queen’s University, Ulster University and the Open University.
Libraries NI’s online events include: author Claire Allan in conversation with BBC Radio Ulster’s Richard O’Reilly (October 16); author Lisa Jewell in conversation with crime writer Steve Cavanagh (October 17); Things In Jars author Jess Kidd in conversation with book critic John Self (October 17); and multi-award-winning crime novelist Peter James in conversation with BBC Radio Ulster’s Kathy Clugston (October 19).
There will also be a series of talks in partnership 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 (Monday 16 October) and Why Reading is like a Hug for your Brain in Bangor Carnegie Library (Wednesday 18 October). Details on how to get involved in these events can be found online here.