World Book Day

28th February 2003 at 00:00
Don't worry if you can't book a visiting author or get out of school on World Book Day. The People's Network in public libraries has lined up a star-studded list for an online festival on March 6: Michael Rosen, Eoin Colfer, Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart for children; Sarah Harrison, Ian Macmillan and Andy McNab for older readers; and Terry Pratchett live for anyone who can get online at 7pm (although the day's output will be accessible on archive later). Some daytime sessions, including Jez Alborough's and Malorie Blackman's, are just five minutes long and could be recorded for breaktime entertainment.

Writer and comedian Meera Syal, whose own bookshelves mix astrology and Women Who Love Too Much with "weighty tomes about sex, politics, gender and race", finishes the day with a "who's reading what?" quiz in which she tries to pick out fans of Anne Robinson, Herman Hesse and Booker winner Yann Martel from a series of suspects including a laid-back taxi driver, a young would-be singer and a baseball-hatted businessman.

Check out the shortlists for the We Are What We Read poll on www.worldbookday.com, to find the books that best sum up life in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Scots can vote for options including the Broons Annual and Ian Rankin on poll@colmangetty.co.uk; everyone else has their say through Radio 4's Today programme. Sister Genevieve, John Rae's biography of the late Falls Road headteacher, is on the Northern Ireland shortlist.

Full programme online on worldbookdayfestival.com. See www.worldbookday.com for details of free resources, an outline of the book tokens scheme (pound;1 for every pupil distributed via schools) and a noticeboard where you can tell the world about your school's event and catch up with what else is happening in your area. See Bristol's big book, page 27

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