I am excited to share with you the news that I have won the inaugural All About Stamps Competition. My entry was a piece entitled The Year that Books United the World, and tells the remarkable story of World Book Year, which was held in 1972. Here it is, and below, you can read a little about what inspired me to put it together.
Like many people, during the period of lockdown I re-discovered my childhood stamp collection, and remembered the pleasure I always took from looking at the pictures on them. Stamps are, after all, miniature works of art.
I decided I would like to begin a more serious collection, and looked into what makes a good stamp collection. Ultimately, it came down to telling a story and illustrating it with stamps. When deciding the topic I would like to collect, there really was no contest: it had to be books and literature. When I began to search for stamps that might depict books and anything related to literature, I came across many sets that were produced in 1972 to mark World Book Year.
This was the first time I had heard of World Book Year, and so I began to look into the details of it. The Year was declared by UNESCO, and in a report looking back on its success, UNESCO expressed surprise at the huge success it had been. Countries all over the world threw themselves into promoting book-related events and programmes, and – as expressed by the organisers themselves – the logo produced for the Year enjoyed unparalleled acceptance across all cultures.
As for stamps, around 50 countries produced ones for World Book Year – many to raise funds for the book programmes they were running. This really caught my imagination, and I began the hunt to track down all of the stamps issued for World Book Year. A summary of this became my entry to the All About Stamps Competition, and I am so delighted to be able to share its message today.