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What's On, Culture, Literature

New Reading Group in Oxford

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Led by Oxford author Simon Mason, sessions will happen at the Oxfordshire County Library in Queen Street, on Friday mornings, from 10.30 to 12.00, beginning on 29 September. They will happen weekly, in three ‘terms’, for a year, with breaks for the traditional holidays.

To find out more, register your interest, or book your place, contact Simon on: simon.mason@rlfeducation.org.uk. There are only 15 spots available and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Simon Mason is a writer of fiction. At first he wrote books for adults, then books for children, which grew up at roughly the same rate his own children grew up, and now he is back writing books for adults again. In addition to his fiction he has also written a work of non-fiction, The Rough Guide to Classic Novels. His latest books are crime thrillers set in Oxford, featuring a mismatched pair of detectives, Ryan and Ray. The first, A Killing in November, was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. The second, The Broken Afternoon, was published earlier this year. The third, Lost and Never Found, will be out next January.

Simon comments: “All my life I’ve been addicted to the pleasures of reading. To listen to a new voice, encounter new ways of storytelling, unfamiliar expressions of emotion, novel explorations of ideas, to be taken to new places by a new imagination. When the Royal Literary Fund asked me to lead a ‘reading round’ book group in Oxford, I jumped at the chance. The pleasure of discovering new authors and new writing, and the added pleasure of exploring them with a group of like-minded people.

It’s a book group with a big difference. No prep, no homework. Each week, I will bring to the group two new pieces, one piece of prose and one poem. Each session will begin with me reading the pieces aloud to the group. After that, chat; the chance to give your reactions and explore the writing as a group.

I choose the pieces (which eliminates indecision or argument), read them, then join in the discussion. It’s my job, too, to create a safe space in which all participants can say exactly what they want – even surprising or challenging things – but in a way which respects others at all times. It’s free and absolutely anyone can come; I hope the group will be as diverse as possible.

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