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Professor’s memoir chosen for World Book Night


An award-winning tale of a woman’s search for her birth parents and her childhood has been chosen to be part of World Book Night.

Jackie’s Kay’s memoir, Red Dust Road, is one of 20 books to be selected for the event on 23 April, when hundreds of thousands of free books will be given to people who don’t regularly read.

Red Dust Road was named Scottish Book of the Year in 2011 and details Jackie’s childhood in Glasgow, her realisation that her skin was a different colour to her beloved parents’ and meeting her birth mother and father.

Jackie, Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, said:  “World Book Night strips everything away to the bare essential: the good hearted feeling of a book in your hand, a companion by your side, the best of friends on your road through life.

“A good book nourishes the soul and gladdens the heart. It lifts you and makes things seem possible that didn't seem possible before. I am so happy that Red Dust Road has been chosen as one of the twenty books to be passed hand to hand, word to mouth, on the road."

The judges who selected Red Dust Road said: “Jackie Kay is one of our greatest poets and this is, quite simply, her story. Of growing up, of wanting to know where we come from, who we are, and of what happens when we discover the truth. Beautiful and brilliant.”

World Book Night Chief Executive Julia Kingsford said: “Often memoirs are fascinating for the things they tell you that you really don't expect to learn. I knew when I read Red Dust Road that the words would sing from the page and I wasn't disappointed. Like the very best poetry it is beautifully written but incredibly easy to read and the words just carry you along pitch perfectly.”

World Book Night is an annual event where 20,000 volunteers distribute 20 copies of a book to people who do not regularly read in their communities.
The 20 books are chosen by an independent editorial committee made up of experts including librarians, booksellers, writers and the media, informed by a public vote.

published on: 27 March 2013