The 'Two Cities One Book' programme of events was officially launched in Belfast Central Library by DCAL Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín.
The 'Two Cities One Book' project sees Libraries NI and Dublin City Libraries work co-operatively, in association with Penguin Random House Ireland book publisher, with the aim of promoting reading.
During the month of April, people in Belfast and Dublin are encouraged to join in the 'One Book' project by discussing and sharing the chosen novel Fallen by author Lia Mills.
The novel is a remarkable love story exploring social issues which promise to provoke thought and discussion for all. Set in Dublin against the backdrop of the Easter Rising and the First World War, Fallen is a magnificent portrait of a young woman, Katie Crilly, which intertwines history throughout to illustrate how she finds life and independence amid a backdrop of death, destruction and grief.
A programme of events is planned during the month of April which explores and supports the themes raised in the book and these will be held in many Belfast venues including Belfast Central, Falls Road, Finaghy and Ormeau Road libraries.
Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, explains: 'The 'Two Cities, One Book' initiative provides a great opportunity for people to connect through reading and we hope to encourage this further with a number of interesting and thought-provoking events.
'The full programme is now available in libraries across Belfast and on our website and these events present the opportunity for people to get involved by not only reading the book but enjoying workshops and presentations focusing on the subjects covered by the book as well as the art, drama, fashion, music and poetry from that era.'
Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín offered her support for the initiative.
She said: 'Two Cities One Book is an excellent initiative that encourages people to engage with reading. It is particularly appropriate given the enormous significance of the year 1916 within the Decade of Centenaries to both major traditions on this island.
'I am very pleased that the network of libraries in Belfast is teaming up with their counterparts in Dublin City and County in order to help commemorate this important year. A range of stimulating events are planned and, with the novel ‘Fallen’ being available to borrow completely free of charge, it’s easy for anyone to get involved.
'I hope the initiative will encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to reflect on the complexity of events in 1916 and its impact on the history of the island north and south.'
This is the first time Belfast has teamed with Dublin for a one book project so whether you read in libraries, in a coffee shop or anywhere else, seize this unique opportunity to make a bit of history.
For the latest information on this exciting project check out the Libraries NI website www.librariesni.org.uk/twocitiesonebook, follow Libraries NI on Facebook and Twitter #2cities1book and keep an eye out in the local press.
Copies of the book are available to borrow for free in local libraries and an eBook version is available to download on the Libraries NI catalogue www.librariesni.org.uk