To celebrate National Reading Group Day today, we've worked with The Booksellers Association to reveal the debut author and title that has topped a UK-wide online poll as the book reading groups most want to read and champion this year.
The Temporary Bride, a memoir of love and food in Iran by London-based Canadian writer Jennifer Klinec and published by Virago (Little Brown) was the clear poll winner. It received over a third of the total votes registered via our Reading Groups for Everyone website, which hosts reading group resources and publisher offers for over 4,000 registered reading groups of all ages and interests.
Groups who voted were also invited to register interest in reviewing the winning title. Three reading groups were selected and will now receive free copies of The Temporary Bride; their reviews will be posted on the Reading Groups for Everyone website and shared via social media platforms.The three groups are today announced as Whitegrove Library Book Group from Bracknell, Berkshire; Horsham-based A Good Read from West Sussex, and the Wine, Women and Words reading group in Barnet, north London.
"New writers bring new perspectives"
Jennifer Klinec says:
I'm thrilled to have won this competition. Having visited over 25 reading groups all across the UK, from Belfast to Edinburgh to Poole and the Isle of Wight, I have received the most incredible reception for my book, The Temporary Bride. I think it shows how the deeply human themes of love, courage and belonging are universal in Yorkshire or Devon, as well as in deepest Iran where the book takes place. As a new author, the word-of-mouth recommendations of librarians and book sellers and the strength of reading groups have been instrumental in so many people picking up and reading my book, set in a country which remains an obscure place to many.
The Temporary Bride recounts how its author abandoned a corporate career to set up a culinary school in London. Intrepidly going to Iran in search of ancient recipes she ends up falling in love - across cultural boundaries - with the son of her Persian cooking instructor.
Maya Bauer from Wine, Women and Words says:
Wine, Women and Words is super excited to have been selected to read and review the book chosen as the Reading Groups For Everyone newcomer of 2015," says Maya Bauer on behalf of the group. "We enjoy reading books by new writers and especially the way they bring new perspectives and fresh ideas into their work. At times we've been disappointed by some more established authors when we've selected a book based on their reputation, so we're always game to try a new name.
Discovering new authors and genres
At the start of the search for the newcomer of 2015, publishers who are members of our partnership programme were invited to nominate recent fiction or narrative non-fiction by debut writers which had been published in paperback in the last 12 months. 29 titles were entered for the online vote and the list was hotly debated on social media.
Karen Brodie, head of publisher relations at The Reading Agency, says:
Publishers and readers have embraced the focus on debut authors. There was a great variety of compelling titles submitted which has led to reading groups discovering new authors and genres they may not have otherwise come across. I'm sure the list will inspire reading group choices for many months to come. Huge congratulations to the winning author, Jennifer Klinec.
Lennie Goodings, Jennifer Klinec's editor at Virago says:
Nothing is as powerful as reading groups' passion and energy. I wish we could bottle it! I am so impressed with the way The Reading Agency reaches out to them: long may they thrive. I couldn't be happier that Jennifer Klinec - who has been visiting reading groups and libraries throughout the country - has been chosen in their poll. Her book is an eye-opening surprise: a window into Iran and a love story but also, a revealing and moving affirmation of the importance of food and family. What is the joy of her book is the way her readers learn that the comforts of food and home are not necessarily found in the obvious places: you can make yourself a home in many different circumstances. What matters is love - and food.
We will now work with Virago, the winning author, local libraries and The Booksellers Association to broker reading group events. This echoes the spirit of National Reading Group Day, which annually celebrates reading groups and the support they receive from independent booksellers and libraries.
Register your reading group on the Reading Groups for Everyone site for promotions, competitions and resources to help you run events and activities.
Share what you're up to on National Reading Group Day with us on Twitter #NRGD15.