Swansea University English Society celebrated World Book Night by selling books and cakes on campus to raise a grand total of £131 for the Books For Africa charity.

From 9am until 3pm on Monday 23rd April, dedicated society members were at a stall in Fulton House selling donated books and homemade cakes to raise money for the Books For Africa charity, as well as taking part in the book giveaway for World Book Night 2012, where chosen titles could be given to those who wanted them and passed on to encourage reading worldwide.

The donated books and cakes were priced at 50p each, with contributions also being given in return for the free books for World Book Night. The society made special T-shirts with the World Book Night logo for those working on the stall, while visitors were also encouraged to write down their favourite book and have a photo taken as part of the event.

History student and all-round good guy Chris Bovis picked To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Former English Society President and current Women’s Officer Eleri Jones picked Angela Carter’s The Passion Of New Eve

Emma Playfair enjoyed books and cake, choosing The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger as her favourite book

History student Josh Gaskell chose C.S Lewis’ The Hideous Strength

Student Laura Beaton picked one of the classics: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling

Societies & Student Development Co-ordinator Rosie Hunnam went with her chosen giveaway title for World Book Night: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Societies and Services Officer and President-elect Tom Upton displayed his excellent taste in literature with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

English Society President James Crofts was thrilled with the result and praised those who were involved with the day’s activities.

“From our participation in World Book Night last year we’ve expanded into an even bigger and better event,” he said.

“I’m really proud that so many students donated books and signed up to the book giveaway. We think we have problems in the UK but the money we raised will go all the way to Africa to promote literacy on an international scale.”

Sophie Lewton, an English Society member who volunteered on the stall in Fulton House, said she enjoyed the day and was impressed by the positive reaction.

“There’s something really cool about seeing people get so excited about books,” she said.

“A lot of people didn’t actually know it was World Book Night and it’s been fantastic to see the reaction and how enthusiastic everyone’s been.”

Student Claire Dyke came along to check out the stall and said: “It’s great that the English Society are doing this for such a good cause, and everything’s good when there’s cake involved!”

English Society Publicist Steve Ralph said: “I thought it was awesome that we were raising awareness during the day for the event.

“All volunteers enjoyed themselves and everyone who stopped by for books and a chat seemed really interested.”

Visitors enjoying the stall and learning about the event

Student Callum Cameron having a browse

Students Michael Kavanagh and Will Healey being excited about books

Spot the Sirens! Left to right: Siren editor/English Society member Roisin O’Connor (me), English Society President James Crofts, English Society member Sophie Lewton, English Society Publicist Steve Ralph, and Siren writer/English Society member Rachel Hodgson.

About World Book Night

In the UK, 20,000 passionate readers give 24 copies of one of their favourite books to encourage those who don’t regularly read to fall in love with reading. World Book Night also gives a further 620,000 books over the course of the year to the hardest-to-reach readers through prisons, care homes, hospitals, sheltered housing, homeless shelters, libraries and through other partner charities.

“Take a minute to remember what it was that made you first fall in love with reading: the incredible passion you felt, and still feel, for books, for stories; the excited feeling you still get when you pick up a book that you just can’t wait to read and think about the places it will take you, the people you’ll meet and the joy you’ll get from reading it.

“Now think about the millions of people who have never been on that journey or who, somewhere along the way, have forgotten how incredible it can be. Think about the power of putting a book in to their hands and saying ‘this one’s amazing, you have to read it’.

“World Book Night reaches out to those who don’t regularly read by using passionate book lovers around the country to become reading ambassadors and to do just that within their communities, book by book, reader by reader, hand to hand, getting the whole country reading.”

Statistics show that:

• 22% of men and 30% of women with literacy below entry level 2 live in non-working households.

• 41% of employers are concerned about their employees’ basic literacy skills.

• 63% of men and 75% of women with very low literacy skills have never received a promotion at work.

• Increased literacy rates improve the chances of using a PC at work from 48% to 65%.

• Individuals with poor basic skills are much more likely to report being ‘not at all’ interested in politics (42% for men and 50% of women with poor basic skills compared with 17% for men and 21% for women with good basic skills).

• Women with low literacy skills are five times more likely than those with average or good literacy skills to be depressed.

About Books For Africa

Books For Africa was founded with the aim to promote literacy in Africa and “create a culture of literacy and provide the tools of empowerment to the next generation of parents, teachers, and leaders in Africa”.

Books are shipped in sea containers paid for by contributions to the charity. Since 1988, more than 24 million books have been shipped to 46 African countries, to classrooms in rural schools and the hands of children who have never held a book before. The charity states that when the books arrive, they go to those who need them most: “children who are hungry to read, hungry to learn, hungry to explore the world in ways that only books make possible”.

To donate to Books For Africa, go to www.booksforafrica.org/donate.html