WBCD 2016_1
World Book and Copyright Day 2016 participants in the Philippines excitedly check out the booths at the event. National Book Development Board (NBDB)

World Book and Copyright Day 2017 is almost here and bibliophiles just can't contain themselves any longer. WBCD is a yearly event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). When is World Book Day 2017? It will be celebrated on April 23. The special event aims to promote reading, copyright and publishing around the globe. Read on to learn more about it.

Four interesting facts about the World Book and Copyright Day 2017 around the world:

1. Conakry, Guinea is the World Book Capital for 2017.

Every year, UNESCO, the International Publishers Association and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, choose the World Book Capital for a one-year period that starts every April 23. For 2017, they chose Conakry, Guinea.

"World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens," UNESCO Director-General Ms Irina Bokova said in a message posted on the organization's official website.

She also said that there is currently a "book famine" in the world because people with visual impairments as well as physical and learning disabilities don't have access to a lot of books that are specifically made for them.

"This is the spirit guiding Conakry, Guinea, which has been designated World Book Capital 2017, in recognition of its programme to promote reading among youth and underprivileged sections of the population," Bokova explained.

2. Australia doesn't traditionally celebrate World Book Day because it has Book Week instead.

Surprisingly, World Book Day is not as popular in Australia as it is in the rest of the world, even if it is also a UN member state. According to Book Town Australia, the country does celebrate Book Week yearly in August. It has been organised by the Children's Book Council since 1945, even before the first World Book Day celebration on April 23, 1995,

Besides, the World Book Day celebration is much too close to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC Day), which is commemorated every April 25. This is probably why World Book Day doesn't get as much as attention in the Land Down Under.

BookTown Australia aims to celebrate the event by introducing the One Town - One Book community reading programs on World Book and Copyright Day, which can culminate in August, in time for the Book Week event. It suggests that any of the country's villages, communities, cities or town suburbs can be declared a "booktown" by choosing a particular book and declaring participation in the reading program for that day.

3. The National Book Development Board (NBDB) will have a Book Fiesta to celebrate World Book and Copyright Day 2017 in the Philippines.

The NBDB's Book Fiesta is meant for book lovers and copyright advocates. It will be held on Sunday, April 23 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle from 9 am- 5 pm. It will have various World Book Day activities and exhibit booths which include book discussions, shirt printing from the 35th National Book Award winners and storytelling sessions. Aside from that, there will also be a book market by Philippine publishers.

Make sure to check out the Erasure Poetry discussion and mini workshop facilitated by Ayer Arguelles from 9:30 am to 11 am. Also, don't miss the special visual fest with on-the- spot comic book making/book signing featuring Filipino comic artists such as Tepai Pascual, Rob Cham, Manix Abrera, Harvey Tolibao and Apol Sta. Maria from 11 am-3 pm.

The Book Fiesta will have booths from several publishers, government agencies and copyright and book organizations including the Ateneo de Manila University Press, Samahang Umaagapay sa Literatura at Talento (SULAT), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and Ex Libris Philippines.

C&E Publishing, Visprint Inc, Bookbed, New Day Publishers, Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books, Filipinas Copyright Licensing Inc, Christian Literature Crusade, Telecraft and Brilliant Creations Publishing Inc will also participate in the said event.

4. Some countries such as the UK, do not celebrate World Book Day on April 23 because they opt to schedule it on another date.

Other UN member states celebrate World Book Day in March or other dates in April because April 23 could clash with other holidays, such as Easter or school holidays. The event is usually celebrated in the UK on the first Thursday in March because April 23 is St George's Day or the National Saint's Day of England. Schoolchildren even get World Book Day Tokens in the UK and Ireland. However, there is a World Book Night celebrated on the 23rd of April. It was organised by The Reading Agency, an independent charity.

In Sweden, the celebration of Världsbokdagen (World Book Day) was moved from the 23rd of April to the 13th of April in 2000 and 2011. The reason for the reschedule of the event is to avoid its clash with Easter. Meanwhile, in Kensington, Maryland in the US, the International Day of the Book is also celebrated on the Sunday closest to April 26.

World Book Day history

According to the UN's website, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day in 1995 during its General Conference in Paris. It chose April 23 because it is a symbolic date in literature. It is on this date that famous writers Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died. Other writers also died or were born on this date including Haldor Laxness, Josep Pla, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Maurice Druon.

Here are some tweets and FB posts about #BookDay

Watch: Présentation Conakry World Book Capital City 2017

Source: Conakry Capitale Mondiale du Livre 2017/YouTube

Watch: From printing to reading - World Book and Copyright Day 2016

Source: UNESCO/YouTube


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