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Jamie Byng

Publisher and Founder of World Book Night

Jamie Byng

Jamie Byng is the publisher and managing director of Canongate Books, founded in 1973. In 1994 the company, founded twenty years earlier, became independent when Byng orchestrated a management buyout. It has  since emerged as one of the most dynamic publishing houses in Britain and one of the founding members of the Independent Alliance, comprised of ten UK publishers and their international partners. Among the authors Canongate have published are Barack Obama, Nick Cave, Carol Birch (Jamrach’s Menager, shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2011) and Yann Martel (Life of Pi, which won that coveted prize in 2002). The publisher has offices in Edinburgh and London, with partners in New York and Melbourne.

Byng is also the founder and Chair of World Book Night, an international phenomena celebrating books and storytelling, which involves authors, publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, and, above all, readers.  Inspired by the impulse to touch lives in the simplest of ways, through the sharing of stories, the kickoff event took place in March 2011. One million books - 40,000 copies of each of twenty-five carefully selected titles - were given away to members of the public in the UK and Ireland. For the 2012 celebration, streamed to libraries across the country, events and retailer promotions, including 20,000 book-givers in the UK and Ireland, were joined by 25,000 in the US and 33,333 in Germany. April 23rd 2013 marks the third annual event, which will distribute half a million books directly to the hardest to reach potential readers in prisons, care homes, hospitals, sheltered, supported and social housing, the homeless and through partner charities working throughout the UK.

For more information about Canongate books visit their website at

For more information about World Book Night visit their website at


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