School of Arts

Book Group

English Book Group

The Book Group was launched in October 2020 as a way to bring English students and staff together online during the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Each week, one person talks about and reads from a book they cherish or wish to share, for whatever reason. It might be because the book is a favourite, because it has special meaning, because it deserves to be more widely known, or simply because it’s a good read. Any book is permissible, from to Finnegans Wake to Winnie-the-Pooh. Titles so far have included Felice Benuzzi’s mountaineering memoir No Picnic on Mount Kenya (1952), Alexander Chee’s essay collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (2018) and Anna Burns’ Booker Prize-winning novel Milkman (2018). The weekly get-togethers are a great way to widen your knowledge of literature; so far we haven’t featured a book that everyone knows. There’s also enormous pleasure to be found in the readings. It’s wonderful to see people enraptured by the magic of words.

Book Group is an online social event for staff and students. There is no need to have read the book to join in. Contact Dr Emma Parker ( to take part.

Semester 1, 2022-23

  • 7 October: Sarah Knight - Madeline Miller, Circe
  • 14 October: Sophie McIntosh – Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • 21 October: Phil Shaw - Daisy Hildyard, Emergency
  • 28 October: India Knight – Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
  • 4 November: Kavita Bhanot – James Baldwin, Another Country
  • 18 November: Dan King – Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
  • 25 November: Shanyn Altman – Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • 2 December: Kelsi Delaney
  • 9 December: Bridie Granger
  • 16 December: Sushymita Viswanathan - Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Semester 2, 2021-22

  • 21 January: Mary Ann Lund - Fred Vargas, The Ghost Riders of Ordebec 
  • 28 January: Zalfa Feghali - Amin Maalouf, Balthasar’s Odyssey
  • 4 February: Emma Westwood –  Jane Austen, Emma
  • 11 February: Jonathan Taylor - Anna Kavan, Ice
  • 18 February: Beth Gaylard – Max Porter, Lanny
  • 4 March: Victoria Stewart - Kevin Power, Bad Day in Blackrock
  • 11 March: Nick Everett - John Ashbery. Selected Poems
  • 18 March: Mark Rawlinson - The English Auden: Poems, Essays and Dramatic Writings 1927-1939
  • 25 March: Catherine Morley – Laura Cumming, On Chapel Sands
  • 1 April: Lucy Evans - Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

Semester 1 2021-22

  • 8 October: Sarah Graham – Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
  • 15 October: Marianne Mincher (MA ES) - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  • 22 October: Ben Parsons – William Baldwin, Beware the Cat
  • 29 October: Sarah Knight – Elif Shafak, The Architect's Apprentice
  • 5 November: Sanem Alti (MA ML) – Pat Conroy, My Losing Season
  • 19 November: Emma Parker – Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum
  • 26 November: Felicity James – Patricia Lockwood, No One is Talking About This
  • 3 December: Mary Ann Lund – Fred Vargas, The Ghost Riders of Ordebec
  • 10 December: Harry Whitehead – The English Patient
  • 17 December: Connie Basham - Eliza Clark’s Boy Parts

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