Explore the 2024 Program

Reading Recommendations

If your brain and your time permits, we’re firm believers in the power of a good book to distract and delight. It’s not an escape but it’s an excellent use of time.
Michael Williams, Artistic Director

Enjoy these three reading recommendations from the Festival Programming team. 

She Is Haunted by Paige Clark

Recommended by Michael Williams, Artistic Director

We spent much of the 2021 Festival celebrating talented, game-changing local debuts. Paige Clark is a formidable voice to add to that mix with her book of short stories, She Is Haunted, which is out in bookshops this week. Propulsively readable, formally bold and playful, the stories within this collection swing between sharply funny, emotionally troubling and beautifully acute, often within the same sentence. 

I’d offer traditional reassurances that a book of short stories is the perfect choice for lockdown attention spans, but once you begin this book you’ll read it compulsively – it won’t let you go. Paige is a true talent and this precise and powerful collection of haunted and haunting women is a highlight of my reading year so far.


Trivial Grievances by Bridie Jabour

Recommended by Amelia Lush, Head of Children’s & YA Programs 

I love pre-ordering books; it’s a brilliant way to tell your local bookshop that there is interest in a title and authors are supported in that essential first week of sales.  

One book I’d recommend to pre-order is Bridie Jabour’s collection of essays, Trivial Grievances (out 7 July). An incredibly witty and self-reflective read, once finished you’re left with the feeling like you’ve just had a really important conversation with a dear friend. Trivial Grievances grew from Bridie’s viral column on the protracted adolescence of millennials, and explores the misery, madness and humorous delights of being a woman in your 30s. In a time when we are once again separated from loved ones, reading Bridie’s book feels like a pretty good substitute for those afternoons of honest chats about life, work, love, hopes and disappointments.


The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Recommended by Lydia Tasker, Program Manager

One of this year’s ‘buzz books’, Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut The Other Black Girl is being billed as Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada. It follows Nella Rogers, a 26-year-old editorial assistant, and the only Black employee at Wagner Books – until Hazel McCall arrives. Nella is thrilled to feel less isolated in the office and shows Hazel the ropes. But when Nella starts receiving threatening notes telling her to “leave Wagner now”, she begins to suspect her new colleague is somehow involved. 

Zakiya worked in publishing before turning to writing, and The Other Black Girl offers a fascinating insider’s view into the publishing world, while examining how overwhelmingly white workplaces handle (or fail to) conversations around race and diversity – all within a compelling, thrilling whodunnit that will keep you reading late into the night.