Welcome to the webpages of 

The Readers' Voice
online post-Convention publication

for Readers and Reading Groups

Welcome to the webpages of The Readers' Voice Online post-Convention publication.

The Reader's Voice Convention was held in Jesus College, Oxford, on 4 April, 2009. Details of the event, including the programme and a photographic record of the day, can be found on the Convention website. Information about the 2010 Convention can be found there also.

These pages gather together articles written by some of the experts who contributed to the talks and workshops on the day of the Convention and which covered a range of issues of interest to the vibrant, increasingly self-aware community of Readers and Reading Groups. The focus of the writing is from the 'grass roots'  perspective of readers, rather than that of authors and publishers and the book trade.


The Rise and Rise of Reading Groups

About Books on the Broad Reading Group
The Readers' Voice is an off-shoot of Books on the Broad Reading Group, named after Broad Street in Oxford, where the group have been meeting on the first Monday of each month at the famous Blackwell bookshop since January 2005. In 2007, they won the Penguin/Orange Readers' Group Prize. In 2008, the Nobel Laureate, Doris Lessing honoured Books on the Broad by becoming its first Honorary Emeritus Governor. The group prides itself not only on its inter-generational, mixed gender profile, but for its openness to new-comers and the talents they bring along.
The Books on the Broad website gives details of the Reading Group's meetings as well as copies of their regular Newsletter which can be downloaded.

The Readers' Voice has received funding from the National Lottery under the Awards for All scheme and is only one of three grants to be given to projects in Oxfordshire in early 2009. The event is also sponsored by Blackwell who have given freely of their advice in the running of the Convention.

We are delighted to have as contributors to this site:

Casi Dylan who is the Training Manager for The Reader Organisation, a charity dedicated to bringing about a Reading Revolution by making it possible for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy and engage with great literature on a deep and personal level. Get Into Reading is a pioneering social outreach project, in which weekly read-aloud reading groups are made available to everyone: from those who wouldn't usually pick up a book to keen readers. The groups aim to improve wellbeing, build  community and extend reading pleasure.

Dymphna Flynn, who has been the producer of Radio 4's Bookclub for 6 out of its 10 years.She continues to delight the Nation with her incisive knowledge of authors and reading groups and her control of the technical wizadry which delivers each programme to us in precisely 27 minutes and fifteen seconds.

Chris Meade, who is the charismatic director of if:Book and futurologist par excellence in the field of reading. His leadership both in the theory and practice of digital literacy has resulted in many ground-breaking and prestigious online if:Book projects such as the recent networked book, Songs of the Imagination, the online reading of Lessing's 'The Golden Notebook. and Fictional Stimulus  a collaborative project which produced what must be a first in the publishing world - a book written, jacketed and printed in 24 hours.

Joan Swann, is Director of the Centre for Language and Communication at the Open University. Her interests include creativity in everyday and literary language: a recent collection in this area is 'The Art of English: everyday creativity'. She is principal investigator of 'The Discourse of Reading Groups', a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council which looks at how reading groups interpret and evaluate contemporary fiction.

Sarah Turvey - who teaches English at Roehampton University. She is also a Fellow of Crucible, the University's centre for teaching and research into human rights and social justice. She has been organising and running prison reading groups since 2000. Her teaching interests include nineteenth-century American literature, twentieth-century literature of the American South, and the short story.

Kate Wilson – whose background is in modern languages and creative writing, is currently Chair of  Books on the Broad reading group and is responsible for the group website, for which she designs and edits a regular e-newsletter (see below). She is also co-ordinator of The Readers' Voice which is now organizing a second Convention for readers and reading groups, due to take place on Saturday, 27 March, 2010 alongside the Oxford Literary Festival.