World Book Night

On Monday April 23rd, it will be World Book Night, and I’ve just been to collect my 24 copies of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which I’ll be giving out to friends, colleagues, and possibly the odd random stranger!

I’ve written a short introduction which I’ll print out and include with the copies I’m giving out. And here it is.



You hold in your hands one of my favourite books. Well, not this specific copy, but one very like it. In fact, my first copy is long lost, lent out to a friend many years ago. My second copy is so well-loved and dog-eared that it could wear a collar and go by the name of Rover.

My third copy is one of my treasured possessions. It bears a stamp on its title page which reads “THIS IS THE OFFICIAL SIGNATURE OF SIR TERRY PRATCHETT OBE” and his (frankly unintelligible) signature. It also bears a handwritten “Mike – An unofficial signature… Neil Gaiman”.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman on more than one occasion, and to hear Neil interviewed at the Edinburgh Book Festival last year. Both authors are among the wittiest, most articulate and engaging people I’ve met, and have been responsible for books I’ve loved, and want to read over and over again.

Most people will have heard of Terry Pratchett, but Neil Gaiman is perhaps less well-known (despite having 1.7m followers on Twitter!) and less prolific, but in a way, more versatile a writer than Terry Pratchett. If you want any recommendations for other Neil Gaiman (or Terry Pratchett) books to read, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

I became aware of World Book Night last year, just after the event, so wasn’t able to take part, but signed up for updates on their website – – which is where you can go to find out more about the events taking place, not to mention the other 24 books being given away today. When I saw that Good Omens was on the list of the 2012 World Book Night books to give away, I jumped at the chance to apply to be able to share this with you. I’m really pleased to be able to pass on this very special copy to you, free of charge.

However, there’s a catch.

Once you’ve read this, I want you to pass it on. Each book given out as part of World Book Night has a unique reference code in it which, when registered, will enable you (and me) to track where the book goes. If one extra person enjoys it, great. If several can enjoy it, so much the better. I’d like to think that the 24 books I’m giving away will travel far and wide, get dog-eared, and eventually deserve the name of Rover themselves!

I hope you enjoy Good Omens as much as I have. Happy reading.


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