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

January - Gutenberg's Apprentice

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. 

Join us on Instagram to enjoy the discussion.


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.


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.


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.


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.