On 23rd April 2018, thousands of books will be given out across the UK on World Book Night.
Now an annual celebration of reading and books, World Book Night was established in 2011 as a means of encouraging more adults to read.
Books are given out across the UK with a focus on reaching those who don’t regularly read, and are gifted through organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters, as well as by passionate individuals who give out
their own books within their communities. Initially the brainchild of Canongate MD Jamie Byng, the event is now run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers.
It is unusual for a small publisher like us to participate in World Book Night because of the financial constraints that participation entails, so we were very excited to have had one of our titles selected for the initiative. We have dispatched over a thousand copies of Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, to libraries, health trusts and arts organisations across the UK, who will be giving out the books on 23rd April. The Reading Agency were keen to try to get the book to older readers who may be isolated or, like Dr. Morayo, without immediate family or support.
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun (which was shortlisted for the prestigious Goldsmiths Prize in 2016 and now the California Book Award 2018) is the uplifting story of a feisty 75-year-old cosmopolitan Nigerian bibliophile. Dr Morayo da Silva lives in San Francisco and has an irrepressible zest for life, making the most of road trips in her vintage Porsche. But when she has a fall, crushing her independence, she is prompted to reassess her relationships and begins to recollect her past life and loves. Whilst Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is a joyful book, it explores issues of ageing, loneliness, dependence and homelessness – all issues of universal interest and relevance.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Norah Carr from the Brighton and Hove libraries, who will distribute 160 copies of Like A Mule, said:
“We have a large amount of people who come into our library but do not read books! We have a large homeless community and many people with mental health issues who just come in to be with other people or to shelter. We always try hard to engage with the people from these communities. Having a book to gift to them makes that contact so much easier and having gifted WBN books before we know the impact it has and how much pleasure it gives to the receiver and the giver.”
Wendy Kirk and her colleagues at the Glasgow Women’s Library have been doing some important work to support women of colour and run lunchtime groups to support women who may be lonely and isolated:
“We work with women from all backgrounds, including those coming to the library for literacy support, women with mental health problems, women exiting the criminal justice system, women with English as a second language, black and minority ethnic women…. Our events are inclusive and welcoming, in a safe, supportive environment.”
Dr. Morayo will also gain new readers elsewhere in Scotland, as Liz Moffat at Stirling Libraries is keen to use Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun as part of Reading Friends, a new UK-wide befriending project, funded by The Big Lottery, which aims to empower, engage and connect older people who are vulnerable and isolated, people with dementia and carers by starting conversations through reading. It is co-produced with older people and delivered through volunteers, called Reading Partners.
French and Danish editions of Like a Mule
What we have loved about publishing Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is how readers across the world have embraced the book. Author Sarah Ladipo Manyika has undertaken events and readings in cities across Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, France, the UK and the USA, and the book has been sold to publishers in France, Argentina, India and Denmark.
We have had numerous emails from individuals, from Lagos to London and Los Angeles, telling us how they felt Dr. Morayo was their new best friend and how bereft they were when they finished the book! Book club participants have particularly appreciated the fact that the book explores an older woman’s sexuality in a nuanced and gentle manner, and have celebrated Dr. Morayo’s love of reading. Many readers have told us that they adore the fact that Dr. Morayo arranges her numerous books not alphabetically, or even by or the colour of the spines, but according to which characters she believes ought to be talking to one another!
We’re pretty confident that Dr. Morayo would be a firm supporter of World Book Night. The pleasure and comfort that books bring to this wonderful character ring out from the pages of Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun:
“Bless you darling, bless you”, I keep saying, because Sunshine is here and has brought me books. “Bless you!”
We very much look forward to introducing Dr. Morayo to a new audience through World Book Night partnerships across the UK, including organisations in Bradford, Chelmsford, Hull, Luton and Llanelli. Stay tuned on 23rd April! #WorldBookNight
Praise for Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun
“A thread of self-deprecating humour transforms what could have been a morbid meditation on aging into a tale of common humanity.” – The New Yorker
“Ladipo Manyika’s book reminds us of the value of indulgence and delight – in sex, in food, in company, and in reading.” – The New Statesman
“Dr. Morayo Da Silva is one of the most memorable characters you are likely to encounter on the page – intelligent, indomitable, author and survivor of a large life. In dreamlike prose, Manyika dips in and out of her present, her past, in a story that argues always for generosity, for connection, for a vigorous and joyful endurance.” – Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
“In this gorgeous and finely crafted book Sarah Manyika takes a sideways look at the lives of other people, lives that usually pass us and each other by, that when they touch may do so with no more than a glancing blow, but may also connect, as they do in Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, tenderly, simply and sweetly. Sarah Manyika’s novel shows ordinary people at their best. Uplifting! – Aminatta Forna, author of The Memory of Love