The first meeting of Renegade Readers took place at Newcastle-under-Lyme Library on 30 October; the next one is on Thursday 27 November. I was pleasantly surprised that there were seven of us for our inaugural meeting, only two of us from Renegade Writers. I’d booked a small room so it felt full, which also helped with the readings as all could easily hear each other.
The reason I wanted this to happen followed attending the Kidsgrove Poetry Hour, which happens monthly at Kidsgrove Library. It’s a well-established group and, as the title suggests, is where we read poetry to each other, whether published or by ourselves. I could see the possibility of a mixed genre group, where we could read prose whether fiction or non-fiction, or poetry or drama. I didn’t want it to be a book group which can have a rather negative effect on reading as there is a pressure to complete a book within the timescale.
This group I wanted as a fairly relaxed place to share what we like and what may influence us.
One interesting side issue was that three people had had contact with The Reader Organisation, something I’d not heard of previously, which concentrates on how reading together can help wellbeing. They have a number of anthologies to use in groups, though I hasten to add I would not want this reading group to have a prescriptive theme or agenda. I see this as being open to all writing, whatever that may be.
Hopefully the group will retain the interest of those who attended, I don’t think it would work particularly well if numbers reached 15+, as there was an intimacy which enabled the less experienced public speaker to read aloud with confidence.
The list of some of what was read at this first meeting:
- A chapter from Vixen by Rosie Garland
- A chapter from Children of the Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston
- The poem Triumphal March by T S Eliot
- The poem In Westminster Abbey by John Betjeman
- A chapter from The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
- A Shakespeare sonnet
- Two poems by Sophie Hannah
The next meeting is Thursday 27 November from 11am to 1pm at the Newcastle-under-Lyme Library. The following will be Thursday 18 December – as that darn Christmas gets in the way!
If you don’t wish to read, just listen to what is on offer, then you are equally welcome.