World Book Day, observed on April 23, honours a symbolic day when several prominent authors either were born or died. The list includes the likes of William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Josep Pla who died on April 23 and Manuel Mejia Vallejo and Maurice Druon who were born on April 23. World Book Day is organized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.
UNESCO decided to institute a day dedicated to reading and books in the UNESCO's General Conference held in Paris 1995 'to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.'
This year will be the 24th edition of World Book Day. Every year UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries, select a World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year. The World Book Capital for 2019 is Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, in her message on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, said, "Books are a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a language-specific reading audience. A book is thus written, produced, exchanged, used and appreciated in a given linguistic and cultural setting. This year we highlight this important dimension because 2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages, led by UNESCO, to reaffirm the commitment of the international community in supporting indigenous peoples to preserve their cultures, knowledge and rights."
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