The North Recommends: Durham Book Group

Durham Book Group is a wonderfully diverse mix of people, interested in reading and discussing a varied range of literature and poetry; from contemporary fiction to classic novels and taking in biography, poetry, travel writing and non-fiction, and we average fifteen members per meeting.

A few years ago we re-located from our previous coffee shop location to Waterstones in Durham, in order to make our meetings more accessible to those with mobility issues. We’re thoroughly spoiled by the wonderful branch manager and her staff, who keep the shop open late for our meetings on the second Monday of each month and provide lovely refreshments for us.

Our group is organised by Rachel who manages the admin side, keeping members informed via regular emails of book choices for meetings and literary events, and a number of us take turns in leading group discussions. At the beginning of the year we compile a list of book choices with input from each member, and work our way through the list. We always include a book from New Writing North’s Read Regional programme, and we like to include local authors and poets as much as possible in our reading choices.

So far in 2019 we’ve read:

  • Chibundu Onuzo’s Welcome to Lagos
  • Jane Gardam’s God on the Rocks
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize.

In March we’re discussing Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward,  and in April we have local poet John Price coming to our meeting to talk about poetry, in particular his anthology Bye Bye Blackboard which is published by Peter Mortimer’s  Iron Press.

Our Read Regional 2019 choice is Slip of a Fish by Amy Arnold, and later in the year we’ll  attend Durham Book Festival which will provide additional discussion for our meetings.