Our virtual international book club is for language-learners aged 15-18. We discuss a novel in English translation, and the club is open to all those in Years 11-13 / Scotland: S4-6.
All learners of Modern Languages at UK schools in Years 11-13 / Scotland: S4-6 are welcome to join our International Book Club. We also host an International Book Club open to the general public!
The International Book Club for Schools is a chance for you to explore foreign-language books which have been translated into English with other like-minded, literature-loving students. No knowledge of the original language is required to take part!
For those of you thinking you may like to study languages at university, there will also be a chance to hear more about what this would entail from current students and tutors, and to ask us your questions.
To take part in the Book Club, you will need to read a copy of the set book in advance of the session. You may like to make some notes on what you’ve read – the key themes of the text, anything you liked or disliked about the narrative or characters – that you would like to share during the Book Club.
All sessions are free to attend and take place online.
The last Book Club for Schools took place on Tuesday, 28th March 2023 at 7pm GMT on Zoom. We are delighted to announce that this session was hosted in partnership with specialists in translated Arabic-language fiction, ArabLit. The Oxford Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies joined us to answer any questions about studying Arabic or other Asian and Middle Eastern languages at Oxford.
We discussed Out of Time, by Palestinian writer Samira Azzam, translated from Arabic by Ranya Abdelrahman. These 31 short stories weave a rich and intricate tapestry of life in Palestine and Lebanon in the 1930s and 1940s, exploring how people from all walks of react to volatile circumstances and rapid historical change.
Discussion in the session focused on ‘Tears from a Glass Eye’, whilst also touching on ‘A Roc Flew Over Shahraban’ and ‘On the Road’.
Hold an International Book Club in your school.
Our Book Club for Schools Guide is a PDF information pack designed to help sixth-formers and/or teachers set up an international book club at their schools. It includes information about how to set up and run a club, and detailed guides to several books that you might choose to discuss.
Download our notes and guide questions for eight outstanding books in translation, and read our blog to see how it went in one British sixth form!
Why host an international book club?
- Hosting their own book club will allow students to take the initiative in choosing which books to read and what to ask about them.
- Encouraging them to deepen or refine their interest in translated fiction whilst also building connections and friendships across classes or years.
- It is the kind of project that will look great on a UCAS application, demonstrating a commitment to studying beyond course requirements. Experience of planning and coordinating events would also be a good CV-booster, regardless of whether students aim to embark on further study of languages or literature.
- It will help students better articulate their ideas and develop their knowledge beyond the curriculum: this may be particularly useful for those studying literature or languages at A-Level, but communication and analysis skills are always widely transferable.
We’re proud to expose students to the diversity of international literature. You can find a list of the texts we have recently read below.
March 2023 – Out of Time, by Palestinian writer Samira Azzam, translated from Arabic by Ranya Abdelrahman
November 2022 – Quesadillas by Mexican writer Juan Pablo Villalobos, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey.
July 2022 – The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan, translated from German by Ayça Türkoğlu and Katy Derbyshire.
March 2022 –A Long Way from Douala by Max Lobe, translated by Ros Schwartz from French (and occasionally from Camfranglais).
December 2021 – The Town with Acacia Trees by Mihail Sebastian, translated from Romanian by Gabi Reigh.
July 2021- The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov, translated from Russian by Bryan Karetnyk.