January Book Group Newsletter

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In this issue...

  • New reading ideas
  • Essex Authors and You
  • Event for all writers
  • Sophie Hannah at Maldon
  • Book Group Symposium
  • The Big Book Club Get Together
  • Prize draw

New Reading Ideas

Classic Crime

Golden Age of Crime

Curl up with a crime novel from the golden age – the 1930s and 1940s. Reacquaint yourself with the kings and queens of the crime genre – and discover some fascinating lesser-known authors from this rich period.

Book Group Reads


Autumn by Ali Smith

  • Brilliant book; was envious of Daniel and Elizabeth’s relationship.
  • It stoked up memories of my own teenage years
  • Found it interesting and challenging: I want to read more of this author

Reviews by U3A Hockley and Hawkwell Book Group

The Dry

The Dry by Jane Harper

‘A rare event! The group is united in its favourable view of this book. It evoked small town Australia ‘on the edge’ very well. Cleverly put together with two timelines and a good plot with a few twists along the way.’

Review by Harlow Booktalk Group


Slow Horses


Slow Horses by Mick Herron

This was the December choice for the Friday Book Group at Benfleet Library. As is often the case, there were a good range of views:

‘I enjoyed the book; a different take on the working of the secret service!’

‘I loved this book. Though a spy novel, it approached the subject from a different viewpoint.’

‘Really enjoyed this book – fast paced and a good read!’

‘Excellently written.’

‘Did not immediately appeal, so did not finish, but I had been extremely busy.’

‘Quite enjoyed it but (there were) so many characters I had to write them down.’

‘I found the number of characters really confusing, so never got into it.’

‘Enjoyable – lots of characters. Read this!! ’

Murder, Mystery and Grudges: an evening with Sophie Hannah

If you recently watched and enjoyed the TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s ABC Murders, book now for this Essex Book Festival event. Sophie Hannah, who has written three new Hercule Poirot novels in the style of Christie, will be appearing at Maldon Library on Tuesday 5 March at 8pm.

The Essex Book Festival 2019 box office is now open – so visit the Festival website or pick up a programme and explore this and all the other events. Book your tickets and make the most of our twentieth anniversary celebrations!

Essex Authors and You

Essex Authors and You

The profile of Essex authors is rising, and at this exciting event you can get to meet over 50 of them! Drop-in to any of the three writers’ slams, where you can listen to 15 authors within just an hour. Or chat to them about their writing at Meet the Author sessions, and perhaps buy a book and get it signed. Essex Authors and You runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 9 March at Chelmsford Library. Entry is free, and you can come and go as you please.

If you’re an established or aspiring writer you won’t want to miss out on our writers’ seminars, also part of Essex Authors and You. There are 12 to choose from with topics such as ‘Plotting your Story’, ‘From Writer to Author – we’ll show you how’ and ‘The Beauty of Haiku’, there’s something to suit writers of all styles and abilities. Seminars cost just £3 each. Find out more details and book your place

Book Group Symposium

Book Group

Thank you to all the book groups who applied to be part of the Book Group Symposium. If your group was selected you will have been contacted by now.

But that doesn’t mean that your group can’t get involved! The Symposium will be at Chelmsford Library on Thursday 28 March and the two fantastic featured authors are Sarah Moss, whose latest book Ghost Wall has been receiving fabulous reviews, and Carolyn Kirby, debut author of The Conviction of Cora Burns. It’s a great chance to meet other book groups and share recommendations too!

The Big Book Club Get Together

We think that Essex has more book clubs than any other county in the UK. As part of their month long Essex Writers House programme, in partnership with Essex Book Festival, Metal are hosting a mass gathering of Essex book lovers. They’d love you to read the short, classic text Animal Farm by George Orwell, before you come. If you’ve read it before, now is definitely the time to read it again and rediscover Orwell’s genius and just how pertinent “the greatest political fable” still is. And if you haven’t got time to read it – go along anyway – they’ll be performing a short extract that evening.

The event will be held at the Essex Writers House Pop Up at Metal, Chalkwell Hall, Southend on Sea, on Thursday 21 March at 7.30pm. Tickets are free, but booking is essential. Book at www.essexwritershouse.com or call 01702 470700.

Prize draw

The Rumour

Enter our latest prize draw to give your book group a chance of winning one of two sets of books.  All you have to do is answer one simple question.

This month’s prize, kindly donated by Orion books, is The Rumour, by Lesley Kara. Lesley lives in Frinton and is one of the authors participating in our Essex Authors and You event (details above).

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in the sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea. When single mum Joanna hears the rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Prize Winners

The winners of the last issue’s prize draw were Shenfield Bad Mothers, Buckhurst Hill Book Talk and Essex IVC Book Group, Chelmsford.

These groups have each won a set of The Craftsman, the thriller by Sharon Bolton. Congratulations to all and many thanks to Orion books for kindly donating the prizes!