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 taking an MFL 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, which takes place on Zoom. 

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 and to ask us your questions. These meetings are a perfect opportunity for you to explore books that aren’t on your school syllabus and to engage with some exciting literature in translation.

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 at 7pm GMT on Zoom.

Upcoming Session

The next Book Club for Schools will take place on Tuesday, 28th March 2023 at 7pm on Zoom. We are delighted to announce that this session will be hosted in partnership with specialists in translated Arabic-language fiction, ArabLit. The Oxford Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies will be joining us to answer any questions about studying Arabic or other Asian and Middle Eastern languages at Oxford.

We will be reading 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 will focus on ‘Tears from a Glass Eye’, whilst also touching on ‘A Roc Flew Over Shahraban’ and ‘On the Road’. We also recommend that you read the introduction (along with as many of the other stories as you’d like to or have time for!).

Registration is required on the following form. The publisher has kindly agreed to offer registered students a considerable discount on the eBook and paperback. Discount codes will be available shortly after you have registered.

NEW: Hold a Translation Exchange 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.

What does the guide include?

The guide is made up of two parts. The first part is an overview of how to set up and run a book club; it includes advice on how to plan and structure each meeting, some ideas for general questions to ask in the sessions, and a booklist with language combinations and brief summaries of the texts. The second part is a set of reading notes; it contains a detailed guide to each of the books from the booklist comprising a blurb, author and translator bios, links to resources to find out more about the book’s context, a list of targeted questions, and some suggestions for further reading.

Why host an international book club?

Hopefully, this will be a passion-project for students that love reading literature in translation! 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. Equally, hosting an international book club will provide useful experience for sixth formers inside and outside the classroom. 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. It is also the kind of project that will look great on a UCAS application, demonstrating a commitment to studying outside the classroom and 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.

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. Our last Book Club for Schools took place online on Wednesday 30th November at 7pm. We discussed Quesadillas by Mexican writer Juan Pablo Villalobos, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey. You can find a review of the book here.

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.