We are delighted to introduce our reading groups selected to read and review one of the six books shortlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction. These groups may be span the globe, with members from different countries and around the UK, but they are all brought together by their collective love of reading. For these booklovers, these groups are not only places to discuss their latest reads but vital support networks through tough times and places of genuine friendship, fun and solidarity.

The Literary Legends pride themselves on having never agreed on a single book in their monthly Zoom book clubs. From strangers meeting on a Facebook group for fans of true crime podcasts, the group have become a close knit group of friends, bonding over their love of reading. In addition to their monthly Zoom meetings, the club hosts a reading challenge for its 1.4k Facebook followers, including a prompt to read one of the Women’s Prize nominees.

“Eclectic and indomitable” is how the Undaunted Book Club describes their members. “We hail from Scotland, India, England and Zimbabwe; we are every age from 30 to 71; we are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and atheist; and a few of us are members of the LGBTQIA+ community.” Their group works a bit differently; each month one person contributes three more books to their communal ‘library’, allowing their members to explore different genres and perspectives they may never have considered.

One of the most recently formed groups, but equally as passionate, the Cocoa Book Club was founded in 2023 at the Red Lion bookshop in Colchester, Essex. With many of their members being students or recent graduates, the club aims to explore more diverse reads and female authors, having primarily studied male authors that dominated their curriculums. The group has often focused on the Women’s Prize books, saying, “it is incredible for us to see a prize which allows members of the club to feel seen.”

Now with 19 different groups and 400 members across the country, the Lighthorne & Leamington Book Club was the original Book & Pudding Club. The group was founded in 2022 when an online book club became an in-person group of over 30 women. The group, which includes new mums, teachers, scientists and retired members, has two shared interests: good books and good pudding.

Hailing from across the sea, The Gather Ups formed 15 years ago in Northern Ireland to take their members out of their reading comfort zone and explore books they might never have considered. Whilst they tend to focus on women’s writing and often explore the Women’s Prize longlist, the group also enjoys reading unexpected material including Nigel Slater’s Tender, for which one member baked his Chocolate Beetroot Cake!

Forming in the pandemic, Sub Plots & Side Books meet every month on Zoom and get together once a year at literary locations to enjoy food, wine and time together. The group is not only a forum for fun and lively debate but a support network and hub of female solidarity. The group is participating in this year’s Women Prize shadowing to honour their late member Juliet, an avid and insightful reader and treasured friend.

The six book groups are each reading one book on the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, and will report back near the winner announcement in June.