5 ways to celebrate literature on World Book Day 2024

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Featured illustration: Lucy Vincent

Literature and Books Editor Amber Bermingham rounds up the best ways to celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 7th March

Many of us will remember celebrating World Book Day in school, where everyone dressed up as their favourite fictional character. For me, it was Pippi Longstocking. I was obsessed with her. I loved seeing a strong female character who was allowed to be silly, who was constantly having fun with her friends, and could lift a horse with one hand. I vividly remember my mum trying to plait my hair around pipe cleaners to create that iconic upturned pigtail look. This nostalgia of World Book Day fuels my love of literature today.

World Book Day is a charity event held annually in the UK, on the first Thursday of March, the first one being held in 1997. World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. On World Book Day, every child in full time education is given a voucher to be spent on books. Their mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own.

Now that I’m an older book lover, I still want to celebrate literature in the same yet different way and meet other book lovers. Here are five ways you can celebrate literature as an adult in Manchester.

1. Visit Chapter One books

Chapter One Books is predominantly a cafe, but has elements of a book shop. It has become a booklover’s staple in Manchester. The interior focuses on comfort, with sofas and large arm chairs which are perfect for indulging in a new book or studying. The low light and soft yellow lamps create a calming atmosphere, especially with the iconic fountain in the middle. They host plenty of events where you can meet other booklovers, such as a writing group and a book club.

2. Corn Exchange Manchester book vending machine

In the most unlikely of places you will find a book vending machine. #Cornexreads can be found just inside the Fennel Street exit of the Corn Exchange. The machine is stocked with pre-loved books, which you can swap with your own used books, completely for free. Much like a little library. The vending machine promotes sustainable reading, by encouraging people to keep books in circulation, and make a choice which is actively preventing books from going to landfill.

3. The Grey Area Writing Group and Book Club

The Whitworth Gallery is a historical superstar in Manchester. It was founded in 1889 as The Whitworth Institute and Park, in memory of the industrialist Sir Joseph Whitworth. They pride themselves on supporting the community, and showcase an array of exhibitions, from historic exhibitions to contemporary commissions. So what better setting to discuss books? The Grey Area is a monthly event for trans and queer writers and booklovers. The event is in the Arte Util room in The Whitworth Gallery. They have an hour of collaborative writing and an hour to discuss their monthly book.

4. Fiction fans and ball gowns – Saturday 16th March

The ‘fiction fans and ball gowns’ event is a multi author book signing, followed by fantasy fairytale themed ball. The event is held in the fantastical Manchester Cathedral, a dark academia-esque setting to bring your stories alive. Amongst the award winning visiting authors and poets are Amy Davies, the author of Rugged Skulls, and C.J Cooke, author of the Lighthouse Witches. 

5. Levenshulme old library weird women

With International Women’s Day being on the 8th of March, celebrating women authors this World Book Day is more important than ever. ‘Weird Women’ begins on Friday 8th March with Unheim-Lit, a spoken word night where headliners Abi Hynes and Gaynor Jones will perform alongside an all-women line-up of a handful of Manchester’s finest writers, performing their ‘strange tales and poems’. 

About the author / 

Amber Bermingham

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