Wednesday, 23 April 2008

World Book Day

Today we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days). But why today? why on 23rd April? I'll tell you: 23rd April is a symbolic date for world literature because on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.

It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. UNESCO's General Conference chose this day to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading.

The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23rd April, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. In Spain, to celebrate this day, Cervantes' Don Quixote is read during a two-day "readathon" and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is presented by the King in Alcalá de Henares.

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