How to Celebrate World Book Day

Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

Dating back to April 23, 1995, this celebration was started by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. April 23 is the anniversary of the deaths of William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Each year since 2001, UNESCO chooses a city to act as the World Book Capital. This city then plans events and programs over the next year to promote and foster reading. The World Book Capital for 2018 is Athens, Greece, with the 2019 title going to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

World Book Day is observed in more than 100 countries, so how does the world celebrate?

In Spain, the king and queen present the Cervantes Prize in Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of the famous writer. About twenty miles away in Madrid, Cervantes’ Don Quixote is read non-stop for 48 hours.

The United Kingdom celebrated World Book Day this year on March 1, with children dressing up as their favorite characters and attending school and community events. Book tokens worth £1 are handed out to children, who then use them to buy books or exchange them for specific World Book Day books.

In other countries, World Book Day is celebrated with special book discounts, costumes, and lots and lots of social media posts about gorgeous libraries.

Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate:

  1. Create a literary scavenger hunt with friends.
  2. Read an entire book today.
  3. Visit your local bookstore and/or library.
  4. Organize your bookshelf.
  5. Dress up as your favorite literary character.
  6. Attend a reading—or host your own.
  7. Download Amazon’s nine free World Book Day Kindle books.
  8. Donate your old books to pass on the gift of reading.
  9. Start a book club or book swap.  
  10. Use your favorite quote as a writing prompt.

Here at New Rivers Press, we’re celebrating by continuing our work of giving a platform to new and emerging voices. How are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments below!

Online Just in Time: Red Weather Taking the World by Storm

New Rivers Press partners with Minnesota State University Moorhead to teach students the ins and outs of publishing, but we aren’t the only literary thing on campus. Many of the staff and interns are also involved with Red Weather, MSUM’s annual journal for prose, poems, and visual art.

This year, Red Weather is doing something a little different. In the past, we’ve only done one (very rarely two) print issues a year. Each one is filled with poems, prose, and visual art. These are all good, of course, but we felt this only captures a small fraction of the artistic talent on our campus and around the world.

Times they are a-changing, and so are we. This fall, we started online editions of Red Weather. These monthly editions allow us to have submission windows open virtually all year and are open to writers and artists worldwide. This first submission window alone, we had submissions from Turkey, Nepal, Russia, and South Korea. We are incredibly excited to give a platform to voices from around the world.

We are also excited to announce that the online editions will accept videos. That’s right—we can publish online things we could never do in a book. If you’re in theater, film, music, animation, or literally anything, you can now film your video or record your performance and submit it to us for consideration. Even if your artistic passion is not one of the categories listed, you can still send us a video of it.

Spoken word? Check.

Pottery making? Check.

Cake decorating? Sure, why not?

The first online edition will be published on our website on October 1. Even better, it’s entirely free! Our second edition, which is Halloween-themed, is currently open for submissions until October 15.

If you would like to submit, you can do so here:

Now go make some art!


To view the previous print editions of Red Weather go here:

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Written by Laura Grimm
Originally posted Sep 19, 2017