World Book Day in the UK and Ireland Date in the current year: March 7, 2024

World Book Day in the UK and Ireland On the first Thursday in March, the United Kingdom and Ireland hold their own World Book Day. It is the local manifestation of World Book and Copyright Day celebrated annually on April 23.

World Book and Copyright Day was established by UNESCO in 1995 as a global event that focuses on promotion of reading, publishing and copyright. The date of April 23 was chosen because it is the death anniversary of three outstanding authors: William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

However, in the United Kingdom April 23 clashes with Easter holidays in schools. Therefore in 1998, Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the country's own World Book Day which is held in early March. Neighboring Ireland followed suit.

In these countries, World Book Day is a registered charity event. In Great Britain, it is funded by National Book Tokens and a number of other organizations as well as the UK publishers and booksellers. On this day, every child in full-time education receives a voucher to be spent on books. They can swap it for one of specially-published £1 World Book Day books.

The number of events held on the occasion increases every year. Schools are encouraged to organize fundraisers aimed at giving kinds from poor families an opportunity to purchase books.

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World Book Day, holidays in the UK, holidays in Ireland, cultural observance, National Book Tokens