St. Patrick's Day: New York City residents can get a free book by an Irish writer

The Irish Arts Center in New York City will be handing out thousands of books by Irish writers to NYC residents on the holiday.

Kathy Willens/AP
Dick Shea, dressed as a leprechaun, gives a thumbs up while marching in the all-inclusive St. Pat's For All parade in the Sunnyside, Queens neighborhood of New York on March 1, 2015.

Looking for a book to read over your corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day? If you’re a New Yorker, you can pick up a free book by an Irish author. 

Volunteers from the Irish Arts Center in New York City will be giving out thousands of free books by Irish writers, including Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde. The give-away will begin at 7 a.m. and last until all the books are gone. According to Irish Arts Center staff, workers will be giving out books to “commuters and school children at transit hubs across all five New York City boroughs.” 

To see more of the authors whose works will be distributed and where volunteers will be, check here.

This won’t be the first time free books are handed out on the streets of New York City. World Book Night came to the U.S. in 2012 (the same year it was first celebrated in Germany, while Britain and Ireland have been holding the celebration since 2011). On World Book Night, people who sign up to do so hand out various copies of pre-chosen books to acquaintances or anyone they happen to encounter. Titles selected for World Book Night last year included “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” by Maria Semple, and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” by Ransom Riggs. The book “When I Was Puerto Rican,” by Esmerelda Santiago was given out in English and Spanish.

Events for the 2014 World Book Night included books being given out at Broadway productions of “Matilda” and “Cinderella” as well as at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston. Henry Street Settlement of New York City added a book to the Meals on Wheels that they gave out and anyone who stopped by the U.S. side of the Otay Mesa border crossing in between Mexico and America was offered a title. 

However, a few months after 2014’s World Book Night, those behind the American version of the celebration said it would not be continuing because of a lack of money.

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