Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation with Kate Mosse on World Book Night

The virtual event will also see the return of Reading Hour.

Sandi Toksvig, David Nicholls, Kazuo Ishiguro and Kate Mosse will be among the high-profile figures marking World Book Night.

The event will celebrate its tenth anniversary on April 23 with a number of online activities under the theme Books To Make You Smile, in response to the impact Covid-19 has had on mental health.

Toksvig will host a livestreamed event in partnership with The British Library featuring best-selling authors Nicholls and Bolu Babalola, as well as World Book Night founder Jamie Byng.

The evening will also see The Remains Of The Day author Ishiguro in conversation with Mosse about his new novel Klara and the Sun as well as the wider impact of his writing on readers.

The Specsavers National Book Awards – London
Kate Mosse (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The Reading Agency has also commissioned a new collection of short stories for World Book Night 2021 called Stories to Make You Smile, which features featuring contributions from high-profile comedians and authors including Richard Madeley, Jenny Eclair, Helen Lederer and Mark Watson.

Some 3,000 copies of the book are being given away through Specsavers competitions and giveaways, and a free e-book version will available to download on the day, while the audiobook will be narrated by Downton Abbey stars Hugh Bonneville and Samantha Bond and Bridgerton’s Adjoa Andoh.

The 2021 event will also see the return of the Reading Hour, when people are encouraged to spend time with a book in any format.

The Writers Guild Awards 2020 – London
Sandi Toksvig will host the virtual event (Ian Westt/PA)

Toksvig said: “I am so excited to be the lead ambassador for The Reading Agency’s World Book Night 2021 campaign, bringing the nation together to celebrate the power of books and reading on Friday 23rd April.

“This year marks the campaign’s 10th anniversary and it feels more important than ever to celebrate the power of reading to inspire, entertain and challenge.

“We all could do with some light relief from reality which is why this year’s theme Books To Make You Smile is so perfect.”

Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency, said: “We’re hugely excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of World Book Night with such a fantastic array of events.

“Given the challenges of the past year, our theme feels particularly resonant and we’re immensely grateful for the support from authors, publishers, bookshops and libraries to help spread the proven power of reading.

“We plan for this year’s World Book Night to be the biggest and best yet and look forward to celebrating the Reading Hour with people across the country, ahead of what we’re sure will be a brilliant livestreamed event at The British Library – which is sure to make us all smile!”

World Book Night will be held on April 23.

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