Philip Pullman will read from Kurt Vonnegut‘s letter to the school head who burned copies of Slaughterhouse-Five – in which the late American novelist writes of how “books are sacred to free men for very good reasons” – in an event marking World Book Night this evening.
Pullman is set to appear alongside authors including Andrew Motion, David Nicholls and Caitlin Moran at a celebration of the “enduring power of correspondence” at London’s Southbank Centre tonight. Inspired by the letter collections To the Letter by Simon Garfield and Letters of Note by Shaun Usher, the Letters Live event will see a series of well-known names reading extracts from letters from throughout history. It is the culmination of World Book Night, the now annual event at which 250,000 copies of 20 specially chosen books – this year ranging from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne to Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin – are given away by volunteers and institutions to help spread the love of reading.
The WBN titles for 2014 are:
1. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Orion)
2. Four Warned by Jeffrey Archer (Quick Read) (Macmillan)
3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Vintage, Random House)
4. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith (Simon and Schuster)
5. Confessions of a GP by Dr Benjamin Daniels (The Friday Project,
6. Hello Mum by Bernardine Evaristo (Quick Read) (Penguin General)
7. Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon (Penguin Michael Joseph)
8. Theodore Boone by John Grisham (Hodder & Stoughton)
9. The Humans by Matt Haig (Canongate)
10. The Perfect Murder by Peter James (Quick Read) (Macmillan)
11. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (Transworld)
12. Today Everything Changes by Andy McNab (Quick Read) (Transworld)
13. CHERUB: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore (Hachette Children’s)
14. Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks (Headline)
15. Black Hills by Nora Roberts (Little, Brown)
16. The Boy With the Topknot by Sathnam Sanghera (Penguin General)
17. Geezer Girls by Dreda Say Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton)
18. 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman (Macmillan)
19. After the Funeral by Agatha Christie (HarperCollins)
20. Vengeance is Mine Inc and Other Stories by Roald Dahl (Penguin
via World Book Night: Leading authors line up for ‘sacred’ celebration | Books | theguardian.com.