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Meet the 2024 Women in Fiction Prize book clubs

We are delighted to introduce our selected reading groups to read and review one of the six books shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2024. These groups can be located around the world, with members from different countries and the United Kingdom. United, but they are all brought together by their collective love of reading. For these book lovers, these groups are not only places to discuss their latest reads, but also essential support networks in difficult times and places for true friendship, fun and solidarity.

THE Literary Legends are proud to have never agreed on a single book in their monthly Zoom book clubs. From strangers coming together on a Facebook group for fans of true crime podcasts, the group has become a close-knit group of friends, bonding over their love of reading. In addition to its monthly Zoom meetings, the club hosts a reading challenge for its 1.4k followers on Facebook, including an invitation to read one of the Women’s Prize nominees.

“Eclectic and indomitable”, that’s how the Intrepids Book Club describes their members. “We are from Scotland, India, England and Zimbabwe; we are all between 30 and 71 years old; we are Jews, Hindus, Muslims and atheists; and a few of us are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Their group works a little differently; each month, one person contributes three additional books to their shared “library,” allowing its members to explore different genres and perspectives they might never have considered.

One of the newest groups, but just as passionate, the Cocoa Book Club was founded in 2023 at the Red Lion bookstore in Colchester, Essex. With many of its members being students or recent graduates, the club aims to explore more diverse readings and female authors, after primarily studying the male authors who dominated their programs. The group often focused on the Women’s Prize books, saying, “It’s amazing for us to see an award that makes club members feel seen.”

Now with 19 different groups and 400 members across the country, the Lighthorne and Leamington Book Club was the original Book and Pudding Club. The group was founded in 2022 when an online book club grew into an in-person group of more than 30 women. The group, which includes new mothers, teachers, scientists and retirees, shares two common interests: good books and good pudding.

Originally from overseas, The gatherings formed 15 years ago in Northern Ireland to take its members out of their reading comfort zone and explore books they might never have thought of. Although they tend to focus on women’s writing and often explore the long list of the Women’s Prize, the group also enjoy reading unexpected material, notably that of Nigel Slater. Tenderfor which a member prepared his chocolate and beetroot cake!

Training during the pandemic, Subplots and side books meet monthly on Zoom and gather once a year at literary venues to enjoy food, wine and spend time together. The group is not only a forum for fun and lively debates, but also a support network and a hub of female solidarity. The group is participating in this year’s Women’s Awards Observation to honor their late member Juliet, an avid and insightful reader and treasured friend.

The six reading groups will each read a book on the 2024 Women’s Fiction Prize shortlist and report back closer to the winners’ announcement in June.