Local children in direct provision to get gift of books for Culture Night

Children in a Direct Provision centre in Westmeath will receive a gift package of new books by leading Irish authors as part of an Arts Council initiative to ensure that as many people as possible can experience Culture Night this Friday (September 18).

More than 1,000 books are to be delivered to families around the country to promote the joy of opening and reading a book.

In Westmeath, New Horizon, the Athlone Refugee and Asylum Seeker support organisation, is one of the groups that will benefit from the initiative.

The Arts Council has partnered with Children’s Books Ireland to publish a special guide to 100 of the best Irish books for children. The 'Books Make Things Better' reading guide will be distributed free of charge through bookshops and libraries, or can be downloaded on the Internet.

"This is the first year that the Arts Council has taken on the stewardship of Culture Night, and it's a year of extraordinary challenges, not least for artists and the entire arts sector," said Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly.

"We believe passionately that the arts are for every single person in Ireland, and that is at the heart of the Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy we launched last year. That's why we have invested in broadening and diversifying audiences and participation in Culture Night."

She said that because of the ongoing Covid-19 public health restrictions much of Culture Night would be virtual this year, but more than 1,000 real books would nonetheless be delivered to families.

The accompanying reading guide, with a specially commissioned illustrated cover by Oliver Jeffers, featuring the best of new Irish publications for families and young people, will also wing its ways to libraries and book shops.

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