Q&A with the founder of the St Hilda's Book Club

2nd March 2023

As we celebrate World Book Day 2023, we speak to Arts Rep Cassie Wicks (English, 2021) about the St Hilda's Book Club, the inspiration behind it, and how to get involved.

When was the Book Club founded and why?

Before my first term in October 2021, the group chat for incoming Freshers was famous for asking any new members ‘are you a feminist who likes to read’, because there were side group chats for feminism and for a book club as a way for people to get to know each other. Because of this, when I became JCR Arts Rep in 2022, I decided to establish a College Book Club as a regular arts event.

How often do you meet?

Once a term in week 6.

How do you choose which book to feature in the Book Club?

In our sessions we take suggestions for what to read next term, then narrow it down to two options. Then we post these options on the JCR Facebook group and on the Arts Instagram channel, and select whichever gets more votes! Our most recent book was Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay.

Have there been any particularly memorable meetings or books?

I think my personal favourite has to be when not a single person present enjoyed the book we chose, and we spent the whole hour going into intricate details about all the reasons why! The book itself may not have been too enjoyable, but tearing it apart was.

What three words would you use to describe the Book Club?

Friendly, relaxed, entertaining.

How can students get involved with the Book Club?

Read the upcoming Book Club book and come along to the meet up - they're always posted in advance on the Facebook group and Arts Instagram, and are open to everyone. There’s no need to have attended before or want to attend again.

And finally, what is your favourite book, and why?

An impossible question! But I would usually say The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - it's very dark but both compelling and beautifully written.