Meet the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club
27 April 2012 / 0 Comments
We were intrigued to hear about the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club, so we asked one of the Club's organisers, Leila Abu El Hawa, to tell us about how it started and how they run it:
The Post-Apocalyptic Book Club started in May 2009 with the reading of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. We began as a slightly nervous group of 10, none of us having ever attended a book club before and very unsure as to how academic it would be. After some awkward moments of looking up passages, we found a shared love and sense of humour surrounding post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction.
Three years and nearly 40 books later, we now have more than 350 members, most of whom are located in London and new people are joining every week. We are diverse group of people from varying backgrounds and are aged between 23 and 45. Definitely not your dusty types either. We meet every month in a central London pub to discuss the set novel where conversation can get very lively! We also have a healthy list of social events as well, which include screenings of post-apocalyptic/dystopian film and documentaries, attending lectures, exhibitions and book signings. We even ran a short story competition for our members, which proved very popular. Some imaginations were definitely let loose.
The club has a busy website and twitter feed which enables us to reach a larger audience who are unable to meet up in person. We have online debates, discussions, reviews and recommendations, which have attracted authors, bookstores, the media and other enthusiasts. It has also allowed people who are new to the topic to see what we're about.
Finding your own level
Being an organiser of a book club, I always feel responsible for everyone. I have become a bit of a mother figure to the group I think. My biggest fear is that someone will feel left out so I always make an extra effort with new comers to make sure they feel welcome and get involved. I think it boils down to how much I love the group and that I want everyone else to love it as much as I do! Saying that - I am a great believer in things finding their own level so I am constantly learning how to balance the two. On average I would say we get between 18 and 23 people per book and even more attend for well known books. Surprisingly, we had more people attend the session for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins than for Nineteen-Eighty Four by George Orwell.
Choosing the books
Choosing a book can be difficult. I take suggestions from our members but I also try to get a good balance of literature. Not too long, not too short, it has to be in print and a reasonable price etc... We all love a damn good story too but sometimes there's more to say about a bad book than a good one. Some of our favourite books have been World War Z by Max Brookes, I am Legend by Richard Matheson, The Day of The Triffids by John Wyndham and Children of The Dust by Louise Lawrence.
The Post-Apocalyptic Book Club website
Read the winning Short Story
Look at the Map of Dystopian London
Check out the Meetup Group
Follow on the Club Twitter
Get in touch for more information.
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