The Women’s Prize for Fiction – the greatest international celebration of women’s creativity – is celebrating 2023’s exceptional shortlist by joining six reading groups from across the UK to read and discuss the wonderful titles. Read on to meet each of the groups and find out what makes them special and what titles they’ll be reading.
95% Blethers is made up of a group of book loving friends. Formed almost 13 years ago, it currently consists of four English teachers and three radiographers which makes for a fascinating mix of arts and science brains!
95% Blethers are reading Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
NHSRF Royal London Branch Book Club
NHSRF Royal London Branch Book Club is a group of retired NHS workers who love reading. They wanted a place where they could read and discuss books together over coffee so started the book club for our Royal London Hospital regional Branch of the fellowship just over a year ago. They started with four members meeting once a month and taking it in turn to choose the books. This year another two people have joined. They all had diverse roles in the NHS but are united by being part of the wider NHS family.
NHSRF Royal London Branch Book Club are reading The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
The Manchester Book Society
The Manchester Book Society is an in-person book club that meets once a month at a venue called Bold, to discuss that month’s nominated read. Founded by three friends in June 2022, they created this book club to share their love for reading with others and create a monthly event to meet like-minded book lovers in the Manchester area. The book club is predominantly female, but open to all genders and ages. Due to a growing social media presence, they are currently in the stages of growing our book club to allow more people to attend.
They read a variety of genres, with a lot of our monthly reads highlighting female, POC and LGBTQ+ authors. As their goal is to promote reading and create a space for book lovers to socialise and bond over their love of literature, they also host social events every month. These have included, independent bookshop trips, library tours, silent book clubs and book swap events.
The Manchester Book Society are reading Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
The Rugby Books
The Rugby Books formed in November 2018 and is made up of Katy, Ashley, Jenny, Helen, Rhianna, Abby, Ania, Sam and Ellen. The original members of the book club met through a Woolwich based tag rugby team, all looking for a way to meet new people in the local area while keeping active. Since then, the book club has grown with both new and childhood friends joining over the years from a small group of 6 to a group of 9, with a handful of others having come and gone during that time.
Although they no longer all live in Woolwich, the book club has remained a constant in our lives and still manage to meet every 6 weeks. They’ve read 33 books since they started, with an average of 7 books per year.
The Rugby Books are reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Chapter Mental Health
Chapter Mental Health are a brand new group who all work or volunteer together for Chapter – a local mental health charity supporting people to live well with their mental ill health. They decided to start a reading group as lot of their team are passionate about reading and hope it will help to strengthen relationships whilst improving their wellbeing. They know about the positive mental health benefits of reading and connecting with others and hope to develop this group to include people who access our services in the near future.
Chapter Mental Health are reading Pod by Laline Paull
LAMDARB have just celebrated their 10 year anniversary as a book club! They met when training as actors at drama school. At the time of forming, they wanted to have a focus outside of the acting profession that would facilitate discussion and debate. That continues to be their remit and they purposely seek out a variety of texts and authors. Comprising of 3 women and 3 men in our thirties, they each take it in turns to select the book to read. That person then hosts a themed dinner when they meet to discuss the book! 5 of the group are based in London and one member is based in the US.
LAMDARB are reading Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
Are you in a reading group? Check out the Women’s Prize for Fiction reading guides for the shortlisted books.
If you work in a library or workplace and would like to promote the shortlist, you can download a free digital pack from our shop.
What do you think of the 2023 shortlisted titles? Which have you read and what will be added to your TBR pile? Add your comments below, or click any title above to leave a review.
Keep up with all the latest news on the Women’s Prize website.
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