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.

Sept: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Small Angry Planet

Our book for September is The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, a self-published science fiction novel that was later picked up by a mainstream publisher.  The Wayfarer ship carries a diverse crew of humans and aliens on a journey to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. Each traveller has their secrets, and the crew must learn to work together in order to survive the trip through space.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


The Reader


Our book for August is Jean-Paul Didierlaurent’s The Reader on the 6.27, a bestselling French novel translated into 26 languages around the world.

The Reader tells the tale of a young man who travels on the 6.27am train every day to a job at a book pulping factory – a job he despises.

On the train he reads aloud the words from scraps of paper chewed-up and spat-out from the ‘The Thing’ – the monstrous name given to the machine that destroys unwanted books.  A chance find of a young woman’s diary, however, starts him off on an unexpected path to new beginnings.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


Ingo‌Your book for July is Helen Dunmore’s Ingo, the first in her Ingo Chronicles novels for young adult readers.

Set in Cornwall, Dunmore invokes the hypnotic power of the sea to take her readers on a journey from the land to the depths of the ocean where Merfolk dwell and the world of Ingo awaits. These creatures of the deep are beautiful and free, but also frightening and unpredictable. 

The novel explores the childhood fears of death, the complexities of family relationships, and the differences between right and wrong. Drawing on folklore and oral history, Dunmore puts our imaginative assumptions about mermaids to the test.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


This month at The Quiet Place Book Club we are reading The Rehearsal by New Zealand author, Eleanor Catton. Against the backdrop of a scandalous relationship between a high school student and her music teacher, The Rehearsal explores the fine lines between truth and performance, desire and exploitation. Innovative and dazzling, The Rehearsal shares the stylistic flair and penetrating insight that led Catton’s second novel, The Luminaries, to win the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse mythology – the myths and legends of the Vikings, in the Old Norse language – is one of world’s great mythologies. And Neil Gaiman is a best-selling, genre-defying author whose work has long been inspired by myths and folktales, not least in his breakthrough Sandman series and his landmark novel American Gods. Our book choice for May, therefore, gives us an opportunity both to sample and enjoy one of the world’s great mythologies, and also to think about how myths are being re-discovered and re-used in modern culture.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


Our book for April is Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: a sweet-sour memoir of eating in China, by Fuchsia Dunlop, a well-known English cook and critically-acclaimed cookery book writer, specialising in Chinese cuisine.

After more than 15 years travelling to and living in China, Dunlop not only brings us to the very heart of Chinese food and food ways, but also to a greater understanding of Chinese people’s relationship to food. 

Much more than a collection of food stories and recipes, this book - Dunlop’s culinary autobiography - is an insightful and entertaining journey, which ultimately addresses cultural acceptance and resistance of foreign food.

Happy reading and bon appétit! Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


Beyoncé loves her, so does Dior: but what makes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so powerful a contemporary writer? Might it be her displays of incisive cultural critique, of black and African feminism? Of race relations and identity politics in the US and Britain? Might it be her vibrant prose or fascinating characters? For our first book club book, we turn our gaze to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah from 2014: a fascinating example of the contemporary global novel.

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.