READERS, writers, illustrators and publishers in Gloucestershire are joining people across the globe to celebrate the 17th annual World Book Day.
Events are taking place at schools and libraries across the county today in a bid to encourage young people to get into reading.
The county has a rich literary heritage and among Gloucestershire’s most famous authors are Jilly Cooper, from Bisley, who has written and compiled 41 books, and Katie Fforde, from Rodborough, who has just published her 20th novel. Harry Potter writer JK Rowling also grew up in Tutshill in the Forest of Dean.
Author Katie said the whole issue regarding encouraging people to get into books was one of promoting wider access to reading and reading materials.
“What I would like World Book Day to do is to offer books to people who don’t normally access them … to make books available in, for example, prisons and waiting rooms,” she said.
At independent Stroud Bookshop, a spokeswoman said World Book Day was very much about introducing children to books.
Vouchers are given out in schools encouraging boys and girls to go to a nearby book store, perhaps for the first time, soak up the often unique atmosphere, and select something to read.
The scheme, welcomed by Stroud Bookshop, enabled pupils to swap their vouchers for a World Book Day title or put it towards a different selected reader, she said.
“We see it very much from the children’s point of view,” she said.
Meanwhile, readers said that there is still a thriving literary scene in the county, despite the challenge of competing with TV, film and social media.
Edward Granger, 32, from Gloucester, said there are many popular writing groups in the county.
“I write short stories as a hobby and there is a really good literary scene in Gloucestershire with lots of groups for support and advice or to just share ideas.”
Keen reader Elizabeth Ryder from Churchdown, often buys her books from Waterstones, she said: “I usually go for the older type books such as Barbara Pym. I really like them, she wrote a series of books.
“They are very interesting and you can always go back to them without getting bored. I like thrillers too and I like Agatha Christie books too.”
Grandmother Janet Lewis, added:“I do not read a lot of books myself but my granddaughter Katie does mostly on her Kindle.
“She enjoys reading JK Rowling books. I think it is important children read books.”
Matthew Brookes is an author from The Reddings in Cheltenham who published his debut collection of short stories Beautiful Chaos in 2012. He said there is no comparison between novels and TV, adding: “You never know what is going to happen in a book whereas television is predictable.”