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Anthony Horowitz ‘hopes spike in reading will last beyond the lockdown’

The author said he was “not at all surprised” that research showed people are reading more during the lockdown.

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(Philip Toscano/PA)

(Philip Toscano/PA)

(Philip Toscano/PA)

Anthony Horowitz has said he hopes one of the lasting impacts of the coronavirus lockdown is that people will continue to read more once restrictions are lifted.

He made the comments after new research by The Reading Agency suggested that nearly half (45%) of 18 to 24-year-olds have been reading more since the lockdown began, as well as one in three adults.

The research was published ahead of World Book Night on Thursday evening.

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(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

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(Ian West/PA)

The author, who created the Alex Rider series of novels for young people, said he was “not at all surprised” by the findings.

He told the PA news agency: “I think that a lot of things might get better as a result of the situation that we are in now.

“Maybe one of those things is that children will rediscover the absolute joy of reading.

“I would hope that when this is over children, young people and their parents will remember the pleasure of a book and the pleasure of finding the time to read a book.”

He added that as everyone’s lives are “so much emptier now than they were” people may start to question the worth of some of the things they filled their time with before.

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(Hannah McKay/PA)

(Hannah McKay/PA)

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(Hannah McKay/PA)

The Reading Agency said that publishers have reported large rises in sales of classic literature, with Penguin Classics sales up by 64.5% on the week before the lockdown.

The charity is urging people to take part in a reading hour from 7pm to 8pm on Thursday evening by taking time out with a book either on their own or with their family.

Debbie Hicks, creative director at The Reading Agency, said: “This year’s World Book Night celebrations provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the proven power of reading to connect people through reading.

“Never has this connectivity been needed more than at this anxious time of social distancing.”

There were 2,103 people surveyed as part of The Reading Agency research.

PA