The Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds reading group project
The Postcolonial Writers Makes Worlds reading groups were established as one means of investigating how literary writing shapes readers’ perceptions of themselves and the world. Our interest in the groups and their discussions was in how readers personally experienced and responded to a selection of books.
Seven separate groups of readers from across the Oxford area were set up: four school groups of A-level students, one group of graduate students at the University, and two ‘town’ groups of adults (which were existing book clubs). Each group chose at least two out of a selection of seven books: Fred D’Aguiar’s Feeding the Ghosts, Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe, Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love, Nadifa Mohamed’s Black Mamba Boy, Daljit Nagra’s Look We Have Coming to Dover!, Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone and Zadie Smith’s NW. Between January and April 2017, the groups met to read and discuss their chosen books. Participants were encouraged to visit and interact with this website in its first phase, which included surveys, annotatable extracts and a forum for discussion.
The reading group meetings were followed by the Great Writers Inspire at home workshops. Each workshop included a semi-structured session facilitated by the researchers in which participants from the reading groups came together to discuss their experiences of reading particular books.