Cityread in Reading – events in May 2018

Primary interest
Arts and Crafts
Get involved with Cityread 2018 in Reading

Cityread London is an annual celebration of literature that brings reading to life for the whole capital in a massive book group. Each spring, Cityread invites London’s citizens, workers and visitors to pick up a book – the same book – and read it together.

This year, it doesn’t just cover London: Reading is also taking part, with themed events taking place across Reading Libraries and reviews of the book submitted in May entered into a draw to win a bottle of Spanish wine.

If your community group would like to get involved, then contact Matthew Breadman ( at Reading Libraries for more information.

This year’s book

This year the book is The Muse by Jessie Burton. It spans two different time periods, Spain in 1936-37, at the start of the Spanish Civil War, and London in the early 1960s. The main character in 1960s London is Odelle, an immigrant from Trinidad, who is an aspiring writer. There is a strong art theme, family history and some very strong female characters.


 Cityread events at Reading Libraries
Ancestors: who do you think you are? | Reading Central Library | Saturday 5 May | 2pm | £4.00 Library members/£5.00 non-members

Paul Crooks will come to Reading Central Library to talk about his knowledge of family history. Paul traced his family back six generations to slaves captured in the Krobo Mountains in Ghana and then to the sugar plantations in Jamaica. Paul published his book Ancestors in 2002. Paul has also appeared in Who Do You Think You Are? with Moira Stuart. Paul will talk about his novel and his amazing journey to trace his family history. His second book A Tree Without Roots is the authentic guide to tracing African, British, Asian and Caribbean family history.

A Long Way Home | Reading Central Library | Saturday 12 May | 2pm | Free event

A talk by RBC Chaplain Una Chandler, who came to Reading from Barbados in the early 1960s, aged 17, with £2 in her pocket. Una will share her memories of a happy but very hard life in Barbados and then her relocation to 1960s Reading and talk about her book A Long Way from Home. Una is also collecting her memories for a second book that concentrates on her early life growing up in Barbados. If you haven’t met Una before she is an amazing woman and this will be an excellent event. Not to be missed.

Reading and the Spanish Civil War | Battle Library  | Wednesday 23 May | 7 – 8:30 pm | £4.00 Library members/£5.00 non-members

A talk by Mike Cooper (author of We Cannot Park on Both Sides) and Ray Parkes about the remarkable men and women from Reading who volunteered to serve and fight for the Republican government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Mike and Ray will also discuss some of the striking poster art from this time.