Books are a bridge between generations and connect across different cultures. World Book and Copyright Day is observed globally on 23 April by UNESCO and other international organisations to celebrate the scope of books, and promote the pleasure of reading.
People from more than 100 countries celebrate the day. The date of 23 April is notable in world literature as many prominent authors like William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega passed away on this day.
In 1995, the date was selected at the UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris to pay tribute to authors and books and encourage access to books all over the globe.
The theme of World Book and Copyright Day 2022 will be ‘Read…So you never feel alone.’
The idea of celebrating a day of the book was first conceived by the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andres to pay honour to the author Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote).
Andres celebrated the day on 7 October first to mark the birth anniversary of Cervantes, and later on 23 April to mark his death anniversary. Finally, in 1995, UNESCO decided on the date of 23 April to celebrate World Book and Copyright Day worldwide as many other authors like William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died on the same day.
However, there is a plot twist regarding the date. While Spain was following Gregorian Calendar back in the medieval era, the Julian Calendar was being followed in England. As per Gregorian Calendar, Shakespeare died ten days after Cervantes’ death. Thus, the death anniversary of both authors falls on the same date, but coincidentally the day was not the same.
Some believe that idea for World Book Day owes its origins to Catalonia's Saint George's Day. The people of the region commemorate the day every year on 23 April to celebrate their patron saint, as well as their love of books and culture.
UNESCO celebrates the day to pay honour to three major sectors of the publishing industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries. The day is now seen as a platform to promote literacy and make people aware of the benefits of reading books. People across the globe come together on World Book Day to celebrate their love of reading. Many organisations organise talk shows and discussions about the importance of books and their role in disseminating knowledge.
Some notable quotes on World Book and Copyright Day:
- “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” - Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice
- “The only thing you have to know is the location of the library”- Albert Einstein.
- “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”- Jhumpa Lahiri in The Namesake
- Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life”- Mark Twain.
- “There is no friend as loyal as a book”- Ernest Hemingway.
- “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”- Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray