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, 31st January 2021

11.30-12 noon

The World that was Ours
by Hilda Bernstein

On Zoom – please contact me for link: emilyrhodes at hotmail dot com


The World That Was Ours by Hilda Bernstein

This classic South African memoir chronicles the run up to the 1964 Rivonia Trial, when the author’s husband, Rusty, was acquitted but others – incuding Nelson Mandela – received life sentences. A gripping, inspiring, personal and political account of fighting Apartheid.

This is a meaty and very readable book that I thought would be especially fitting for this tough winter, when many of us will be feeling isolated and fed up with life so limited by Covid measures. It’s a good reminder of ordinary people’s incredible acts of bravery, of the importance of standing up for justice, solidarity between people, and it also points out that people have endured much harder times than this.

You can buy your book from Daunt Books here (or in the shop) and get 10% off by using the code WBC at checkout.

Due to National Lockdown, we will be meeting on Zoom rather than in person.

Sunday, 28th February 2021


So Long, See You Tomorrow
by William Maxwell

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

Suggested fee: £5

In this evocative classic of American literature, the narrator – now an old man – looks back to his childhood, when a man was murdered on his farm in Illinois, and the narrator’s friendship with the murderer’s son comes to an abrupt end. Written in delicate, spare prose, this is a piercing testament of guilt and regret.

Tickets on sale here.

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.