Ulster takes a literary turn in time for a celebration of the best books

Stephen Nolan and MLA Paul Givan launch Book Week
Stephen Nolan and MLA Paul Givan launch Book Week

This 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.

From October 29 until November 4 Book Week will entail a joint initiative between BBC Northern Ireland and Libraries NI which aims to celebrate the pleasures and benefits of reading. One of the key messages the line-up champions is that books and reading are for everyone.

BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan met with Communities Minister Paul Givan at Belfast Central Library to help launch the literary line-up. 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 the province.

The communities minister, 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.

Once every month, 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 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.”

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 talk about classic and contemporary page tuners with fans of the written word.

Stephen adds: “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.

“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 November 3 The Arts Show will take an in depth look at local crime noir at 6.30pm and on November 4 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.

For details of all libraries and events visit www.librariesni.org.uk.