Provisional list

January 12th


Books that got us through 2020

introduced by Huw Griffith

We've all had a bit of extra time to do some reading during during these lockdowns - here's an opportunity to tell us all of your favourite books.
E-mail your choices to

February 2nd


The winners of the XBC short story competition will be announced, and the winning story read out by its author. Discussions and questions, moderated by competition judge J David Simons, will follow.

March 2nd

The World Of ...

Presentation by Peter Davies

Peter will take us into the real and imaginary worlds created by authors in ways that make their readers know them and desire to return to them again and again. He will focus on Iris Murdoch and Graham Greene, with brief mentions for  P.D. James, Anthony Powell, and Anthony Trollope.  


Please feel free to contribute to the discussion with other authors whose worlds, invented or real, we escape to in our reading.

April 6th


The pen and the pandemic:

How to survive lockdown in half a dozen books

Presented by Alma Dorndorf

There’s nothing like a heart-warming, escapist novel to keep your mind off the coronavirus crisis. Fiction cannot cure illness or predict the future, but it can certainly help us survive a lockdown. 

My friends and I have chosen six books which have delighted, intrigued, amused and transported us and which we would now like to share with you. 


After the presentation we would really like to hear what you have been reading over this extraordinary year.

May 4th


Crime fiction and an introduction to the Peter May Trilogy

Presented by Terry Gifford

Detective Inspector Fin Macleod returns from Edinburgh to the Outer Hebrides and the island of his childhood to investigate a series of brutal killings. The landscape of the island, with its bleak bogs, empty beaches and strings of crofting houses above rocky coves, has become a definitive character of Peter May's Lewis Trilogy. To what extent does May suggest that these storm-swept conditions have shaped the characters and culture of the islanders themselves? Last October Terry Gifford undertook an investigation into this question on Lewis and Harris.

This is his illustrated report. 

June 1st


An introducion to the  new XBC writing competition

Presented by

Christopher North

Memoir could be thought of as the lighter version of Autobiography - a fragment in your life. And it’s a Broad church that can take many forms: the old fashioned – ‘Jottings from an Active Life’, or exotic travel, recollections of a childhood, memories of special friendship, a loss endured, a distinguished friend or relative, a confession and of course for a time the very popular misery memoirs of the 90s and early naughties.

I will be including a couple of exercises - so for those interested, do have a pen and paper handy.

July 6th


Summer supper - maybe!

We are planning a summer supper for the Book Circle on 6th July at one of our favourite haunts, Le Gourmand, in what could well be our first meeting in the flesh since March 2020. It is, of course, subject to Community rules on group dining outdoors and on members’ vaccination status. Please let us know if you’re interested.



No meeting

September 7


Unusual books on Spain

Christopher North

Further details to be announced

October 5


Short stories

Results of the Memoir Competition - further details to be announced

November 2


Race and racism in American fiction

Presented by Erica Meltzer and Jeff Lee 

Further details to be announced

December 7


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Presented by Christopher North

Group reading and/or Christmas supper - further details to be announced