The Quiet Place Book Club

The York Festival of Ideas, in partnership with the University of York’s Department of English and Related Literature, hosts a virtual book club named after the Quiet Place on the University’s Campus West.

The Quiet Place Book Club invites members of the public, staff, students and graduates to join their reading group on Instagram. 

We announce one book each month throughout the year and experts in the Department of English and Related Literature will provide comments and thought-provoking questions  to encourage debate and guide our shared reading. There will also be posts providing expert reactions to literary news headlines, national events, and seasonal topics.

Books in the book club will be related to areas of teaching and research in the Department of English and Related Literature, across all genres and age-ranges, as well as literary events in the York Festival of Ideas 2018. To join the book club follow @quietplacebookclub on Instagram.

Find any books you might have missed in our archive

April - Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey‌ 

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a novel about reading, and in particular about reading the Gothic. It uses and makes fun of the tropes of Gothic fiction, playing with dynamics of fascination and fear. In the 1790s, when Austen was writing, Gothic literature was phenomenally popular, so as you read this month, think about how Austen is responding to the immense popularity of the genre, and what she has to say about the gendering of the Gothic.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


The Remainder - book club

Our book for March is Alia Trabucco Zerán’s award-winning novel The Remainder. In a surreal city, three individuals – Iquela, Felipe, and Paloma – who were children of political dissidents during Augusto Pinochet’s regime, meet again as grown-ups as Paloma returns to Chile from Germany to bury her mother. Except, planes are cancelled and delayed because of the rain of ashes, and things take an unexpected turn.


Elmet - book club

‌Our book for February is Elmet, the 2017 Man Booker prize shortlist entry from Fiona Mozley. Steeped in the literature and medieval history of the Yorkshire landscape, the novel takes in the twists and turns of Daniel and Cathy's lives in the woods and the unpredictability of their father - sometimes present, sometimes far away; sometimes at peace, and sometimes filled with rage.


Gutenberg's Apprentice

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie reimagines the history of one of humankind's greatest inventions - the printing press - and specifically the printing of the first Bible. Johann Gutenberg is a rather elusive historical figure and Christie attempts to put colour into his life by fictionalising this important moment in time. 


Box of Delights

Our Christmas read is The Box of Delights by John Masefield.  The novel explores the adventures of orphan school boy, Kay Harker, as he fights to save Christmas against the dark powers of a sorcerer.  Read along with us as we learn about ancient wizards, folklore, and a box that can travel through time this Christmas.


 Everything Under

Our book for November is Everything Under by 2018 Man Booker Prize nominee Daisy Johnson.  The novel follows the life of lexicographer, Gretel, as she brings back lost memory and the challenges of revisiting the past.  A tale of myth and nightmares, it explores the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship and the challenges of womanhood.


Poems October

Our book for October is As Slow as Possible by Kit Fan.  The collection of poems is the Poetry Book Society’s choice for autumn and it has also been named in The Guardian’s biggest 50 books for autumn 2018.  A collection about change, creation, and mortality, Kit Fan draws inspiration from the slow life of trees, Chinese myths, and environmental change.