Good news for book lovers, as World Book Day will still take place this year. The official day 4th March, but this year people are encouraged to make any day World Book Day. The charity continue to work with schools and nurseries to distribute the €1.50 book tokens once they re-open, whilst also offering a new single-use digital version of the token that will be distributed by schools and can be printed at home or shown to participating bookshops on a phone or tablet screen. Judi Curtin’s Lily and the Lissadel Ghost is the Irish published book, and will be available along with the other titles in exchange for the token from participating bookshops. The redemption period for books has been extended, but get in touch with your local bookshop to check availability.

In Saturday’s Irish Times, Megan Nolan talks to Amy O’Connor about her debut novel, Acts of Desperation. Reviews are Edel Coffey on Words to Shape My Name by Laura McKenna and The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small by Neil Jordan, two novels which both are based on the life of Tony Small, Lord Edward FitzGerald’s black servant; John Gibbons on New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet by Michael Mann; Mia Levitin on We Are not in the World by Conor O’Callaghan; Anne Harris on We Are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People by Eliot Higgins; Heloise Wood on Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life by Alex Christofi: Seán Hewitt on Queer: A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday, edited by Frank Wynne, and Queer Love: An Anthology of Irish Fiction edited by Paul McVeigh; Sarah Gilmartin on Here Comes the Miracle by Anna Beecher; and Claire Hennessy on the best new YA fiction.

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Bridge Books in Dromore, Co Down; Tertulia in Westport, Co Mayo; and The Company of Books in Ranelagh, Dublin 6, are the three bookshops on the Irish shortlist for the Independent Bookshop of the Year (IBOTY) at the British Book Awards. The Irish winner will be announced, appropriately enough, on March 17th. The nine regional and national finalists will advance to the virtual award ceremony, to be held on May 13th.

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Irish author Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick has been named on this year’s CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist for On Midnight Beach (Faber). Oliver Jeffers has made the 2021 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal longlist for The Fate Of Fausto (HarperCollins Children’s Books), which he both illustrated and wrote.

The shortlists for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal for authors and the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustrators will be announced on March 18th, with the winners revealed on June 16th. Winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.

CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist:

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Hot Key Books)

The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Kathrin Honesta (Usborne)

The Space We’re In by Katya Balen, illustrated by Laura Carlin (Bloomsbury)

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)

The Girl Who Became A Tree by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner (Otter-Barry Books)

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (Walker Books)

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)

On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Faber)

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)

In The Key Of Code by Aimee Lucido (Walker Books)

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann (Penguin Random House Children’s)

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Orion)

Burn by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)

After The War by Tom Palmer (Barrington Stoke)

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds (Knights Of)

The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin Random House Children’s)

Somebody Give This Heart A Pen by Sophia Thakur (Walker Books)

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk (Penguin Random House Children’s)

2021 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal longlist:

Just Because illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, written by Mac Barnett (Walker Books)

The Wind In The Wall illustrated by Rovena Cai, written by Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)

The Misadventures Of Frederick illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, written by Ben Manley (Two Hoots)

My Nana’s Garden illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, written by Dawn Casey (Templar)

Tibble And Grandpa illustrated by Daniel Egneus, written by Wendy Meddour (Oxford University Press)

Where Happiness Begins illustrated and written by Eva Eland (Andersen Press)

The Fate Of Fausto illustrated and written by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The Child Of Dreams illustrated by Richard Jones, written by Irena Brignull (Walker Books)

Starbird illustrated and written by Sharon King-Chai (Two Hoots)

Lights On Cotton Rock illustrated and written by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)

The Bird Within Me illustrated by Sara Lundberg and translated by B J Epstein (Book Island)

It’s A No-Money Day illustrated and written by Kate Milner (Barrington Stoke)

The Girl Who Became A Tree illustrated by Kate Milner, written by Joseph Coelho (Otter-Barry Books)

How The Stars Came To Be illustrated and written by Poonam Mistry (Tate Publishing)

Hike illustrated and written by Pete Oswald (Walker Books)

I Go Quiet illustrated and written by David Ouimet (Canongate)

Arlo The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep illustrated and written by Catherine Rayner (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Hidden Planet illustrated and written by Ben Rothery (Ladybird)

Small In The City illustrated and written by Sydney Smith (Walker Books)

Dandelion’s Dream illustrated and written by Yoko Tanaka (Walker Books)

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Human rights activist and writer Ruth Coker Burks, and award-winning screenwriter and producer Russell T Davies are the guests at the first Damian Barr’s Literary Salon of 2021 this evening.

Coker Burks is the author of All The Young Men, her memoir of how, as a young, single mother in Arkansas, she found herself at the forefront of the Aids crisis, risking everything to restore humanity to those the virus and prejudice sought to destroy. Davies’ credits incluide Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin, which is currently airing on Channel 4, to widespread acclaim.

February is LGBTQ+ History Month in Britain and all are welcome at this online salon. Tickets cost £5 at Eventbrite with 10 per cent of revenue from this event going to support the work of the Terrence Higgins Trust.