BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation

10/16/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/16/2020 02:22

Book Week NI returns

This joint initiative between Libraries NI and BBC Northern Ireland celebrates the many pleasures and benefits of reading. And it's a reminder of how books and libraries connect people with each other and the wider world.

The theme for Book Week is Stories And Storytelling and everyone is being encouraged to find at least 15 minutes to read with children, to enjoy a favourite book again or to try something completely different and new.

Audiences can get involved on social media by posting #BookWeekNI and #Take 15 and tagging @LibrariesNI and @BBCnireland on Twitter, @LibrariesNorthernIreland and @BBCNI on Facebook and @librariesni and @bbcni on Instagram.

Throughout the week, BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI will also invite people to hashtag #BookWeekNI to share details of their favourite books, their book recommendations, favourite authors, literary characters, book spaces and libraries.

This year BBC Northern Ireland has commissioned a special Book Week television programme. Read All About It!, on BBC Two NI on Thursday 22 October at 10pm, will feature book recommendations, childhood memories and some specially commissioned musical arrangements in a lighthearted celebration of books and reading.

Introduced by the BBC's Ireland Correspondent Emma Vardy (pictured) the programme includes contributions from well-known names and a book-themed medley performed by members of the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast Central Library.

Those taking part include:

  • Simon Byrne, PSNI Chief Constable
  • Suzie Lee, winner of BBC's Best Home Cook
  • Connor Phillips, BBC Radio Ulster
  • Marie-Louise Connolly, BBC News NI Health Correspondent
  • Paddy Raff, comedian
  • Koulla Yiasouma, Children's Commissioner
  • Jan Carson, author
  • Professor Siobhán O'Neill, the interim Mental Health Champion
  • Tim Davie, BBC Director General
  • Magician Joel M, who will be familiar to BBC audiences through his new television series, Life Is Magic

A virtual conversation event with best-selling crime writer Ann Cleeves (creator of the DI Vera Stanhope and Inspector Stephen Ramsay novels) and Northern Ireland's own Brian McGilloway (New York Times bestselling author of the DS Lucy Black thrillers) will take place during the week. Hosted by BBC Radio Ulster's William Crawley and joined by fans of crime thrillers - the event will be available to watch on the BBC's dedicated Book Week website

BBC Radio Ulster will be celebrating stories and storytelling across the week. On Saturday 17 October, Culture Café at 6.05pm will have guests Marian Keyes (now a Seamus Heaney Fellow), Bernard Cornwell and John Banville. Music tracks will reflect how literature has influenced musicians - from Yeats and The Waterboys, Duke Special and Michael Longley to Hannah Peel and the poet Will Burns.

The Lynette Fay Show, Monday to Thursday at 3pm will be hearing from healthcare workers who love to get lost in a good book, including a discharge nurse who reads on her phone while queuing and a palliative care pharmacist who reads to be transported to another place and time. On Thursday 22 October, Lynette will also launch this year's writing competition Two Minute Tales. BBC Northern Ireland's creative writing initiative is this time asking all children between the ages of five and 16 to get creative by writing a fictional short story based on the theme 'A Christmas to Remember'. More details can be found at

In a special Thought For The Day on Monday 19 October, Fr Martin Magill reveals the classic novel he's set himself to read for Book Week…and returns on Friday to tell listeners whether he's succeeded and what he thought of it. The Mark Patterson Show on BBC Radio Foyle will feature a new poem from local poet, Jenni Doherty. ATL Introducing later that day at 10pm will hear from Dara McAnulty, author of Diary Of A Naturalist, who will be sharing the music that he loves to listen to while writing and walking.

On Wednesday 21 October at 7.30pm Stephen McCauley will be speaking to author Simon Young about his new book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan, the first authorised biography about Northern Ireland rock band Therapy? And Stephen will also revisits a Soundscape on Book Binding, with bookbinding craftsman David Willis.

On Friday 16 October Caoimhe 'Ceol' Ní Chathail on Blas Ceoil will be interviewing Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde about his recent book illustrated by Dara McGee which accompanies a musical release of Polcaphonc - a lively new book of songs in Irish for children with everything from a greedy spider, a friendly ghost, children saving the world and a space alien that has a mad interest in fashion, especially clothes with polka dots!

On Saturday 24 October Culture Café will have an interview with Joan Lingard, writer of the acclaimed Across The Barricades teen series and writers Jan Carson and Dara McAnulty share their love of Agatha Christie.

To round up the week on Sunday 25 October Kerry McLean will be playing the songs inspired by books. Other features and interviews will take place across the week on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle.

The year also marks the start of the Book Week NI podcast which will bring together interviews and discussions from right across BBC Northern Ireland in one convenient place. It'll be available on BBC Sounds and other platforms. Just search for Book Week NI wherever you get your podcasts.

Across BBC News NI's output you can expect a range of discussions and stories about books, literature and reading - including topics on how to encourage children to read; the ways in which reading can benefit mental health; and interviews with some of Northern Ireland's most talented writers and authors from further afield.

Peter Johnston, Director, BBC Northern Ireland, says: 'Our partnership with Libraries NI reflects a shared commitment to serving communities across the region. Book Week has grown in ambition over the last five years and we are delighted that it will include many new elements. It's a celebration of creativity during a challenging time and a reminder of how books can inspire, sustain and transform lives.'

Jim O'Hagan, Chief Executive, Libraries NI says: 'Book Week is a great opportunity for people to get back in touch with reading and libraries. We've got so many services and resources that people can access online. And our teams have been busy working with local communities to make sure that Book Week really has something for everyone. Now, more than ever, we are encouraging everyone to take 15 minutes or more to read during the week, and preferably for 15 minutes each day of the week.

'We will be highlighting a different theme for each day of Book Week with reading recommendations of books, eBooks and eMagazines, virtual events, and lots of book-related conversations and fun.'

For further information on Book Week NI, please visit