Emily’s Walking Book Club has been meeting for monthly walks on Hampstead Heath since 2012. It is an extremely friendly and relaxed group of people, bound together by a love of books, and of walking.

The idea behind it is that it’s much easier to talk while you’re walking – something about the rhythm of it loosens your thoughts and your tongue too. Perhaps it’s also easier because you’re looking around at beautiful landscape rather than making stressful eye-contact.

Here is a piece I wrote about it for the Spectator.

We were delighted to be recorded for Radio 4’s Ramblings with Clare Balding, first broadcast in 2013, for which we discussed Elizabeth Taylor’s Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. You can listen again if you follow the link.

We set off at 11.30 sharp from Daunt Books Hampstead, and return there for 1pm. There’s a £5 suggested fee, but if you can’t afford this (plus the cost of travel and the book – I know, it adds up!) then just come along anyway and pay what you can. Fancy joining us? Great! Just turn up – details below – you never need to book a place (the Heath is always big enough to accommodate us), but please make sure you are suitably attired – there is usually a lot of mud, and it can be very wet and windy – and, of course, that you’ve read the book.

Here are details of our next meeting(s):

Sunday 10th November, 11.30-1pm

Red Love
by Maxim Leo

From: Daunt Books Hampstead, 51 South End Road, NW3 2QB

Suggested fee: £5

In this compelling and nuanced family memoir about growing up in the GDR, Maxim Leo traces his family’s connection with East Germany back to his grandparents. During the Second World War, his mother’s father – a Jewish lawyer – became a fighter for the French Resistance; his father’s father was a fervent Nazi. Leo looks at how these two men, who followed such different ideologies, could come togehter to build the same state: “a kind of dreamland, in which they could forget all the depressing things that had gone before … from now on all that mattered was the future.” Now the future has become the past, hte author looks at the souring of the dream, and the peculiar mix of resentment and loyalty he and his family felt towards the GDR. He shows us how the Wall was as much a support, holding them up, as it was a barrier, fencing them in.

Emily’s Walking Book Club has also popped up across the UK at Literary Festivals, Writers’ Retreats, and even at a hen party. If you think it could be the right thing for your own special event – birthday / team away day / school outing / anything else then please get in touch. I love taking this idea onto new ground.

Drop me a line if you’d like to find out more.