The Big Library Crime Book Giveaway, organised by the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention CrimeFest, takes place at the end of April.
Roughly 650 crime books will be given to all 27 libraries across the city from 29 April – 1 May.
The initiative is being supported by bestselling author, Ann Cleeves, who is a vocal advocate of reading and libraries as a ‘lifeline’.
Ann, who is behind the phenomenal Vera and Shetland series,
both adapted to prime-time TV, is a featured guest at the 2022 CrimeFest convention, which is hosted at the
Mercure Bristol Grande Hotel from 12 to 15 May.
Ann Cleeves said: “It’s fantastic that CrimeFest is giving away hundreds of books to libraries in Bristol. All genres owe a lot to the work of libraries, but crime fiction is the most borrowed genre. Accessible and popular, crime fiction offers a gateway into reading, and the many benefits that brings. I’ve long been a vocal champion of libraries and their importance for our communities, so I’m delighted to throw my support behind this initiative.”
CrimeFest has run the Big Library Crime Book Giveaway since 2016. In addition, it provides discounted tickets to its convention to librarians. The UK’s biggest crime fiction convention also donated £5k worth of books to inner city school libraries across Bristol, with support from the independent bookshop Max Minerva, and the convention’s title sponsor, Specsavers.
Books in the giveaway include titles by many authors who will be appearing in Bristol at the event this year, including Steve Mosby, Robert Goddard, Kia Abdullah and Sam Carrington.
Kate Murray, Head of Bristol’s Library Service, said: “We’re really pleased to be taking part in the Big Library Crime Book Giveaway again this year across all of our 27 libraries in Bristol. It is fantastic to get books into the hands of readers and get people into libraries where they can talk to staff and find out more about what’s on in their local library and the wide range of services we offer. Reading for pleasure can have such a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing so we’re really pleased to take part in this giveaway and share the joy of reading across the city.”
Crime novels dominate library lending, with Jack Reacher’s Lee Child regularly being the most borrowed author year-on-year. Lee’s brother Andrew Child will make his first UK appearance at CrimeFest since taking over the helm of the Jack Reacher series. An author in his own right as Andrew Grant, the younger brother of Lee Child has been hugely successful as the continuation author, dominating the bestseller lists. The books have also been dramatised for Amazon Prime.
Hosted in Bristol, CRIMEFEST is one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe, and one of the most popular dates in the international crime fiction calendar, with circa 60 panel events and 150 authors over four days.
Adrian Muller, Co-host of CRIMEFEST, said: “Crime fiction is a popular gateway into reading. In a cost-of-living crisis, we want to encourage people to take advantage of the fact they can access a wealth of free books at their local library. School and community libraries and librarians play a role in transforming lives by fostering a love for reading. Reading can be transformative not only emotionally, but on an educational, economic and social level.”
Research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has shown that reading for pleasure is a higher indication of academic success than parental status or income.
CrimeFest is at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel from
12-15 May, 2022