Mention reading groups to most people, and they expect middle age, middle class and middle brow.
How wrong!
Reading groups are a growing force in publishing, and some big name titles owe their success to word-of-mouth recommendation through book groups. For instance:
Number One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
by Louis de Bernières
Devine Sisters of the YaYa Sisterhood
by Rebecca Wells
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini.

These novels were originally published with little fanfair or publicity budget and they owe their best-seller status to reading groups. Publishers are now trying to woo reading groups by offering free advance copies, group discounts and even access to authors.
So it is a surprise that most literary festivals ignore reading groups and concentrate on the big authors whose names sell tickets. 
However the Chipping Norton Literary Festival will put reading groups centre stage when they host their Book Groups - Not Just Tea and Biscuits forum.
Panelists include Sarah Turvey, who runs prison book groups, and Genevieve Clarke from The Reading Agency, a charity promoting literacy, and Yvonne Barlow editor of Hookline Books where reading groups choose the novels that go to print.

Chairing the event will be Sue MacGregor, former BBC presenter.

We hope the event will prove that book groups have moved on from the stereotype of middle-brow chintz and tea. 

Book Groups – Not Just Tea and Biscuits.

22 April, 11am.

Jaffe & Neale Bookshop

Main Square

Chipping Norton


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