Archive for August, 2008

Only a week to go..

Well, the first meeting is fast approaching and I’ve got to admit that the old nerves are starting to make themselves felt. Strangely though, what I’m actually nervous about has done a complete about turn-  a few weeks ago I was absolutely terrified that no one was going to turn up at all and I was going to be left sitting alone in an empty room; now, reassured as I am that people are actually interested, I’m left with the equally scary prospect of having to amuse a roomful of interested, opinionated people for a whole hour and a half!! I guess of the two options this is by far the most appealing!


Indeed, I have been completely blown away by the response to the bookclub membership drive. Given the popular perception of Sunderland (the recent suggestions that we should all give up on the area and move to the Home Counties being a case in point!) and the amount of people who skeptically raised their eyebrows when I mentioned the bookclub plans (“Culture? In Sunderland??”), I am taking great pleasure in the fact that we are proving the doubters wrong. I’m also confident that the first book, “Half of a Yellow Sun”, is winning people to our cause. Those who I have cajoled into reading it so far have, despite some initial reservations (the Biafran war is not always such an easy sell!), been genuinely absorbed and moved. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, but it’s one of those books that I know I will never forget; the strength of the writing means that the characters and images have really stayed vivid. And every time I put on the news I can’t help thinking that many of the issues it raises- colonial legacy, moral responsibility in war, race, class- are still terrifyingly present. Unlikely, then, that we’ll run out of things to discuss!!


Oh and one more thing- advance warning for everyone interested that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi is appearing at Northern Stage in Newcastle on the 13th October. She’ll be discussing “Half of a Yellow Sun” with the writer and professor of creative writing Jackie Kay. The event starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available from the Northern Stage box office (Tel: 0191 230 5151). It should be absolutely fascinating and I’ll certainly be going along, so let me know if you fancy it!

My First Blog

Well hello there. This all feels very exciting- this is my first time writing a blog and I feel slightly nervous and extremely 21st century- but I guess that if you are all reading this then I must have finally figured it out! So, welcome, one and all, to the world of the Sunderland Book Group…


And this seems to be a season of firsts- as I suspect you will already know, the first meeting is fast approaching and I hope you are all currently whiling away the balmy summer afternoons (!!) reading “Half a Yellow Sun”. For those of you not yet in the loop, this is the deal…


The White Room Book Group will be held on the first Wednesday of every month beginning on the 3rd of September 2008, at the White Room (surprise, surprise) in Sunderland. Meetings will run from 6.30pm-8.00pm and each month we will talk about a different book (book list to the right!) every month. Books will be linked to literary events in the region and we hope to get authors to drop in too.


The idea is mainly fun and a chance to talk to like-minded book lovers over a drink or a cuppa- the wonderful people at the White Room are offering some excellent offers- and, hopefully, to broaden our collective literary horizons. Discounts on chosen books from Blackwells in Newcastle with a membership card by contacting New Writing North (contact details on the NWN page). And it’s all completely free!


We can also continue the discussion on the blog and it is for you to use to chat, argue make suggestions. I hope to hear from you all soon… x







Read any good books lately? We have

Following the continued success of the popular New Writing North book and poetry reading groups in Newcastle and Middlesbrough, we are rolling out the groups regionally this autumn. The groups offer the chance to meet fellow enthusiastic readers in informal and enjoyable venues. Each meeting is run by a reader in residence who facilitates the group and updates a book group blog – so if you miss a meeting you can keep up. Seasons of books are announced in advance in autumn, new year and summer.

The group is free to attend but you must register as a member in advance with New Writing North. Group members can take advantage of special offers on books and often on refreshments in the venues that host the meetings.

For more information please contact Olivia Mantle on 0191 222 1332 or email

About the group

Sunderland Book Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6pm at Holmeside Coffee in Sunderland.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit

August 2008
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