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 26th January, 11.30-1pm

Black Narcissus
by Rumer Godden

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

Suggested fee: £5


This is a strange and fascinating novel about a group of Anglican nuns, who travel to Mopu, north of Darjeeling, to establish a school and hospital in a former harem. The Sisters are full of good intentions but their mission is a failure, their efforts undermined by their inability to understand the complexity of local conditions. Meanwhile, forbidden passions rise to the surface in the thin mountain air …

A bestseller when it was first published in 1939 (and the basis for an acclaimed film in 1947), this remains a beautiful, affectionate evocation of time and place, with underlying emotional drama and a subtle sense of humour.



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.