Oxford’s ‘Ten-Minute Book Club’ Season 3: a new set of quick ‘deep dives’ into great literature

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Ten-Minute Book Club run by Dr Alexandra Paddock, Professor Kirsten Shepherd-Barr and Dr Erica Lombard launches its third season today, 13 February, to introduce a new 12-week series of curated short-form texts as an invitation to great conversations about literature.  

The first instalment of Season 3 of the book club focuses on The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, one of the earliest detective novels. The novel’s central stolen diamond is introduced through a postcolonial lens by doctoral candidate, Helen Dallas.  

Season 3 will continue work begun by the Ten-Minute Book Club second season of late 2022, which released light-touch deep dives into the work of Claude McKay, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Amy Levy, George Meredith, Frances Watkins Harper, Sinclair Lewis, William Langland, and Hannah Allen. Each week there is a DIY kit for book club discussion, where the ‘book’ is a ten-minute online snippet, designed for school and general readers. An introduction by an academic suggests themes or contexts to think about, ideas for further reading around the book and a free link to the full text (meaning that all texts must be out of copyright). The books come from a wide selection of genres, including essay collections, poetry and short stories, and are written in a variety of Englishes. It is a core mission of the project to showcase global English literatures, and to consider minoritized experience and postcolonial questions in the way these texts are framed. 

Ten-Minute Book Club Season 2 also included a series of online live book clubs with UK English teachers, some of whom are now running their own ten-minute book clubs in schools using the project. The biggest of these events was a 50-person ten-minute book club at the A level ‘Frankenstein Revisited’ Study Day on 20 October. The insights of these meetings are being incorporated into the Ten-Minute Book Club website to transform the project into a co-created initiative. Teachers' book club events will begin again in Spring alongside Season 3. 

The Ten-Minute Book Club, along with the LitHits project that inspired it, is a permanent installation in the Weston Library’s ‘Space for Reading’ in the Blackwell Hall. You can also receive short curated texts direct to your email inbox by subscribing to the free LitHits newsletter: https://lithits.substack.com/ 

The resources in the Ten-Minute Book Club were created by Oxford's Great Writers InspireWriters Make Worlds and LitHits projects, and supported by the Faculty of English and the Humanities Division at Oxford University. Season 2 and 3 are made possible thanks to a Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund in AI Governance large grant. 

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