Meet our Shadow Reading Groups 2017

Meet this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shadow reading groups. These twelve brilliant book clubs will be shadowing the 2017 judges and reading the six shortlisted books. We’ll be charting their progress as they go, and letting you know their thoughts on the 2017 shortlist,  Twitter and Instagram.

Our Book Group

Our Book Group began in 2005 out of the ashes of another book group. The group members are in their 30s and 40s; include married and single people, parents and non-parents. Also, English born and bred as well as those who have made London their home from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany. There are a wide variety of professions and other interests; including being members of London choirs, bee-keeping and poetry writing. The group is predominantly female but we do have our token boy, Athos. We wanted to be part of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction process because we value the way shadowing enhances the health of literary awards. More than anything, we are looking forward to reading and talking together, and with others, about a great book by a female author. We’ll be reading The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan.

CiS Readers

The group began in March 2013, and comprises of current and former members of staff at a children’s charity, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When colleagues leave or retire, the book group is a perfect way for them to continue being part of the social life of our organisation. It makes for a vibrant, mixed and enthusiastic book group! We read a diverse mix of titles, including; fiction, biography, short stories and most recently a play, with our selections made based on picks from every member of our group. We’re a chilled out book group, with meetings taking place in local bars and featuring lots of topics of conversation, we always talk freely, openly and animatedly about each title we read. We applied to be part of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shadowing because, having just celebrated our 4th birthday as a group, we wanted a fun challenge. Everyone is super excited to be involved. We’ll be reading The Dark Circle by Linda Grant.

Vic Park Walkers

Our book group came about as many of us are self-employed and don’t have the office social scene other jobs provide. We live near Victoria Park, and between us our careers cover the worlds of therapy, physiotherapy, academia, team building, baking, writing, painting and property interiors. We’re a very international group and love that this is often reflected in the books we read. We are also all mothers and know that there is work to be done to fix gender stereotypes – whether we parent girls or boys. So it’s great to be shadowing the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the championing of women writers and the varied worlds they give voice to. We meet around a pub table or for coffee in the park and are looking forward to discussing First Love by Gwendoline Riley, and hopefully others from the shortlist.

The Three Horseshoes Reading Group

Our group was created in 2014 in our village pub. There were three founder members and additional members have joined mostly through word of mouth so we are up to our full contingent of ten. We use Twitter for our news and general communication and thanks to the Baileys Prize we are hoping to get to grips with Instagram. We are all ladies who enjoy the opportunity to lunch and love reading and lively, diverse discussions spawned by various aspects of the books. The joy of shadowing the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction will be reading and reviewing new books by well-accomplished writers we may not have considered, in parallel with the judges and other groups. It is an amazing opportunity to be part of something so widely respected that gives women writers a more powerful voice. We are really looking forward to seeing a recipe for a Flat White Baileys Martini – the first of which we hope to enjoy at our next meeting! We’ll be reading Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀.

Reading Between The Wines

Our book club was set up when our Wiltshire village was cut-off in the 2007 flooding. Plenty of prosecco, nibbles and chocolate feature at our meetings, discussing modern fiction with the occasional classic or biography thrown in. We enjoy going to author events and trips to the cinema and the theatre to see adaptions of books we have cherished. Every Christmas we celebrate with a meal and secret Santa gifts to tie-in with books read that year. We are excited to have the opportunity to shadow the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year! We’ll be reading The Power by Naomi Alderman.

Novel Ideas

After many chats about books in the English staffroom, we decided to officially form a book club. Initially huddled around a table in a classroom on a lunchtime, we were a combination of English teachers, Spanish teachers, a librarian and a literacy assistant. Since then we have blossomed and out grew the school! We are now a group of 12, all females who meet at least once a month. No longer are we all in education, but I’m pleased to say the first members are still with us! Our ages range from 21 to over 60, and we all have very different hobbies and interests, but share a great love of reading. We all love a variety of genres, so our discussions are usually lively, passionate but respectful. We wanted to take part in the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction because it’s all about novels by women, and the members of Novel Ideas are all strong, opinionated and confident women who love reading. We’ll be reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.

Open Book Club

Leigh Libraries Open Book Club is held on the third Saturday of every month. The group is fanatical about all forms of the written word and we are happy to welcome new members. We have universal tastes and will tackle any title with enthusiasm. The Open Book Club’s warm and friendly atmosphere, encourages sharing our thoughts and feelings about the featured book. We love a challenge and can’t wait to take part in the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The Open Book Clubs Lair is Leigh Library and is one of 5 popular reading groups, highlighting our commitment to provide reading for all. Leigh Library is prized by its users as a popular local hub. We’ll be reading The Sport of Kingsby C.E. Morgan.

Warwickshire Super Readers

Warwickshire Super Reader’s Group meet a few times a year to ‘shadow’ national book prizes such as the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. We have been doing this for more than five years now, and although some members have changed, the solid ‘core’ remains! All members are from different book groups in the county, and love getting together to discuss new and challenging writing, and to discover new writers. We relish the excitement of these time-limited challenges, and interacting with other book groups when the opportunity arises. We are totally thrilled to have been chosen to officially shadow the Baileys Prize 2017, and can’t wait to start. We’ll be reading First Love by Gwendoline Riley.

Whitegrove Library Book Club

Our group meets once a month in Whitegrove, a community library in Warfield, Bracknell. We have diverse tastes in books and an eclectic taste in high tea and tepid coffee. Currently we have around sixteen members, some of whom have been with us throughout our eleven year existence. We don’t always agree on the merits of a book but always share a mutual respect for one another and a sense of fun – and the aforementioned tepid coffee. Constructive criticism, complemented by sell-by alert crackers and cookies not always aid but frequently abet our always fruitful discussions. Our common denominator is a love of reading and thirst for literary gems and our discussions frequently act as a starting point for more philosophical themes or bad puns. We are all ecstatic to be shadowing the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and are sure to be inspired by these great authors. We’ll be reading The Dark Circle by Linda Grant.


London Book Club

London Book Club (#londonbookclub) started with a few friends swapping book recommendations on Twitter. This rapidly became a book club founded with the aim of getting its readers to try things out of their usual reading zones and a place to make new friends. We’re open for anyone to join and have a very eclectic reading list. Our favourite reads include Station ElevenThe Interestings, and Girl at War. For the past four years we’ve been meeting monthly in a pub in Holborn, recommending our favourites to the bar staff along the way. We also have a dog, who is an internet superstar, and we once asked Margaret Atwood if we could take her for a drink. We’ll be reading Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ.


Shoreditch Book Club

We are a ladies-only book club linked to our local Women’s Institute group and have been running with different members for over 5 years. We meet monthly on a Monday evening around Shoreditch to discuss books written by female authors and so are delighted to be shadowing the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017. We read a wide variety of genres, from contemporary fiction, classics, plays, short stories, and the occasional poem as well as biographies. We all have different jobs, interests and literary preferences so we try to decide books democratically but a unanimous recent favourite was Sara Pascoe’s Animal and we all adore pretty much everything Margaret Atwood pens. The book club loves literature but often digress into other subjects and have been known to see the film or the stage show of the book we’ve read. We’ll be reading The Power by Naomi Alderman.

‘BIG’ Bookclub

‘BIG’ book club is made up of friends and colleagues from the Big Lottery Fund in Birmingham, we have been meeting monthly, for the past three years, at nearby hostelries. We are a diverse group of ladies with a shared love of reading and all things book. We have an array of quirks and talents within the group, a snapshot being; a vintage clothes fan, an IT wizard, a union rep, a fashionista, a true crime enthusiast and two doting grandmothers, so a good mix, making for lots of different book choices and opinions! We take it in turns to choose a book each month; we find being in the book club encourages us to read a wide range of genres and possibly titles that we wouldn’t normally choose as individuals. We’ll be reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.

Join the conversation!

Click here to find out more about this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist.

Tell us which book you think should win the this year. Share your thoughts using #BaileysPrize or tweet us at @BaileysPrize.