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Next week, BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle’s airwaves will be buzzing with interviews, conversations and features about reading as BBC Northern Ireland presents Book Week NI.

Book Week

Book Week NI (Saturday 29 October – Friday 4 November) is a joint initiative between BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI which emerged out of a new partnership between the two organisations which aims to celebrate the pleasures and benefits of reading. One of the key messages of this initiative is that books and reading are for everyone.

BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan met with Communities Minister, Paul Givan MLA, this week at Belfast Central Library ahead of BBC Northern Ireland’s Book Week. While there, Stephen became a member and got his own library card which he can use to borrow books and enjoy a range of other free services, in libraries across Northern Ireland.

The Communities Minister, Paul Givan MLA, who has responsibility for libraries across Northern Ireland said: “I am pleased that BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI are working together to support learning and literacy; books are for everyone and can be accessed for free either online or through the 98 libraries or 16 mobile units across Northern Ireland. Libraries are a key service to communities and I encourage people to get involved in The Biggest Book Group in the Country and to visit their local library and to borrow their first book.

Book Week

“The NI Executive recognises the value of public libraries in communities and continues to provide support where possible. In addition to funding 98 libraries and 16 mobile units, the Northern Ireland Executive have provided Libraries NI with an additional £225,000 to ensure that opening hours would not reduce in this financial year. Libraries NI has also secured capital funding from the NI Executive for much needed redevelopment of Coleraine Library and Lisburn Road Library in Belfast. This capital funding will help ensure the provision of modern libraries for the whole community.”

On Monday morning [31 October] Stephen Nolan will be launching The Biggest Book Group in the Country. Once every month, BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show will give listeners the chance to share their views on that month’s chosen book. In the first of The Biggest Book Group in the Country, Charlie Lawson will introduce and read some extracts from the book group’s first ever book which will be announced that morning. Listeners will then have a month to read the book, which they will be able to find at their local library, before the programme discusses the book at the end of November.

Stephen Nolan said; "I've been told that I'm losing out not reading books - that a great book will take me to new worlds, new ways of relaxing and new ways of broadening my thoughts. So I'm going to give it a go. If you, like me, haven't read much before now, then let's start the journey together and then we can share with each other ideas about great books on the biggest show in the country!”

Stephen Rainey says: “I’ve always loved reading, and Cover to Cover is an incredible opportunity for me to meet the writers of some of the best-selling books ever written, and to share the stories that made them so popular. From horse-riding and romance with Jilly Cooper, to Wilbur Smith’s tales of adventure in the land of the Pharaohs, Cover to Cover will bring you inside some of the best books ever written, taking you on a journey that can be even better than what’s on the printed page.Also on BBC Radio Ulster during book week, Steven Rainey will present Cover to Cover every weekday at 4.30pm. During this programme there will be big interviews with a range of authors including Wilbur Smith, Jilly Cooper, Bernard Cornwell, Anne Rice, Nicci French and Ian Rankin with Steven finding out more about what inspires and motivates them to write and delving into each author’s imagination. Steven will also be joined live in studio by guests such as mentalist David Meade and crime author Stuart Neville to hear about their favourite books and will be talking classic and contemporary page tuners with fans of the written word.

“All of us love a good story, so whether you’re a bookworm or not, Cover to Cover will give you an escape from the real world.”

On Gardeners’ Corner on Saturday 29 October Cherrie McIlwaine will be joined by Wendy Austin as they visit Ormeau Library in Belfast to browse the shelves for books that will appeal to those with green fingers. On Thursday 3 November The Arts Show will be taking an in depth look at local crime noir at 6.30pm and on Friday 4 November Ralph McLean will be picking tracks inspired by his favourite music books from 8pm.

It’s often said everyone has at least one good novel in them but how do you get one published? Good Morning Ulster will be finding out how to get your name in print throughout the week from 6.30am -9am.

Book Week

Online there will be a range of animations and videos including a series of new short films involving local personalities who will be talking about books that changed their life, their childhood favourites or their favourite book of the moment. These will be available to watch throughout the week on the BBC Northern Ireland social media accounts.

Books and reading are for everyone, and BBC Northern Ireland’s Book Week NI hopes to encourage audiences to share their book-shaped stories and experiences. Audiences are encouraged to share their the favourite book from childhood, the book that they keep returning to and which may have changed their life. BBC NI is also interested in hearing about the book that grown-ups would recommend to their younger selves and the books that young people are reading right now and what they like about them.

Book Week NI offers many opportunities for audiences to get involved, both on air, online and on social media. Book lovers can share a photo of their favourite book or even their book collection across BBC NI social media using #bookweekni

For details of all libraries, services and events, go to the Libraries NI website - you can join the library online or in any Northern Ireland public library. Also check out

Book Week is a great opportunity to talk about books, to read and discover something new, or to start reading again. A whole world of possibilities awaits…

#bookweekni #lovetoread

Further information

For more information: Age NI 028 9024 5729

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