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Some of Britain’s best loved stars have signed editions of their favorite books for a new charity auction.

Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, and Ian McKellen are amongst the celebrities to sign the books, which cover a wide variety of genres.

“Education offers a route out of poverty and books are the foundation of lifelong learning, yet the majority of people in Africa cannot afford books of their own,” said Lesley Pinder, Book Aid International spokeswoman. “The proceeds from this online auction will help Book Aid International support reading and learning in some of the world’s poorest countries by getting books into libraries, universities, hospitals and refugee camps.”

The range of books chosen as favorites by the stars is vast and revealing. Mirren has signed Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky, Sir David Jason has chosen Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows – which he voiced for a BBC series in the 1980s – and Gary Lineker has inscribed A Good Walk Spoiled by John Feinstein. Joanna Lumley has chosen Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, while Robbie Coltrane has signed Huckleberry Finn. Other names to take part include Twiggy, Alexander McCall Smith, Alan Rickman, Sue Townsend, Frederick Forsyth, Tim Rice, and Julian Fellowes.

Book Aid International is a non-profit organization that sends over half a million books to sub-Saharan Africa every year to support literacy, education and development. The books are almost always new books donated by UK publishers, and are distributed to national libraries, local and regional libraries, community libraries, schools, prisons, refugee camps, and NGO resource centers in 12 African countries. They also provide grants for purchasing books locally (especially those in local languages), and training and advice to ensure that books are targeted to the right groups of people and are well used.

The auction runs until October 27, and can be accessed through eBay.

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