Reading group up for top award

AN Essex reading group has been shortlisted for this year's Penguin/Orange Reading Group Prize.The Wivenhoe Bookshop Reading Group is one of six finalists in the competition, now in its fifth year, which aims to find reading groups which illustrate individuality, reflect diversity of reading choices and demonstrate the pleasure of shared reading.

AN Essex reading group has been shortlisted for this year's Penguin/Orange Reading Group Prize.

The Wivenhoe Bookshop Reading Group is one of six finalists in the competition, now in its fifth year, which aims to find reading groups which illustrate individuality, reflect diversity of reading choices and demonstrate the pleasure of shared reading.

Entrants were asked where they meet, what they read, how they choose their members and what their reading group means to them. Entrants were also asked to write up to 500 words about what makes their reading group special.

Founded three years ago, the mixed-sex Wivenhoe group has more than 100 members and meets in a local restaurant twice a month to mix good food with great reading.


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Group member, Vivienne Goldsmith, said: “We sit four members per table to ensure everyone has the opportunity to air their views and meet someone new.

“Many new friendships have been made through our reading group - what a better way to break the ice with a stranger than to have both have read the same book and be eager to discuss it? The group has become the talk of the town.”

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Kate Jones, literary agent and chairman of judges, added: “We were delighted by the strength and variety of the shortlist. What the entries reflected this year more than any other, is that reading is bringing people together and is a passion to be shared by men, women, young and old.”

The winning group will be announced on August 21 and first prize will be a day for up to eight members of the winning group at Penguin's central London headquarters. The prize will include meeting editors and publicists, lunch and a reading group session with a high profile Penguin author.

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