Picture: UNESCO

World Book Day on April 23 - in West Sweden

Publicerad 30 mars 2022

On World Book Day on April 23, UNESCO draws attention to the importance of books, authors and copyright, in disseminating ideas and knowledge and in contributing to understanding and tolerance between people.

World Book Day in West Sweden

Events for World Book Day have been taking place in Gothenburg for many years, with the Gothenburg City Library first organising author readings to mark the day in 1999. This year, with Gothenburg’s new status as a City of Literature, the celebrations are growing. There will be book stalls outside of Litteraturhuset, an open mic at Frilagret, and meetings with writers, amongst other things.  Read more and find an event near you. (in Swedish)

History about World Book Day

World Book Day started in the 1920s, when people in Spain started marking the date of the writer Miguel de Cervantes’ death: April 23rd. Now the day is a big celebration in Spain, when many people give books as presents to their loved ones. Streets fill with book stalls, and a huge range of literary events take place, including readings of Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote. In Madrid, and at branches of the Cervantes Institute around the world, the book is read aloud in its entirety by politicians, cultural figures and anonymous citizens – an event which takes a total of 48 hours.

UNESCO named April 23rd as World Book Day, or World Book and Copyright Day to give it it’s full title, in 1995. Its aims for the day are to promote the enjoyment of books and reading and to recognize the scope of books as a link between the past and the future and a bridge between generations and across cultures. It’s also a time to stand up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge.

April 23rd is also the date that Shakespeare died, and celebrations in Great Britain began in 1996. World Book Day in the UK has become a time to encourage children to read, and gift cards are given to children across the country, allowing them to choose a book to buy for themselves. Schools also often encourage children to dress up as their favourite characters from books for the day.

Since 2001, UNESCO has chosen a World Book Capital every year, a city that commits to promoting books and reading with a year-long programme of events between one World Book Day and the next. Guadalajara is World Book Capital for 2022 and won the title with a plan to organise reading activities in parks and other public spaces, to use reading and writing workshops to increase social bonding and cohesion, and to strengthen neighbourhood identity through intergenerational connections, storytelling, and street poetry.