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The Reader offers a wide range of courses and literary experiences enabling everyone to learn through and from the shared reading of great literature. Whatever your background with books and reading, you’ll find a course that meets your needs - be they personal or professional – allowing you to look at literature from a whole new angle.

From our all-purpose Short Courses for Serious Readers, to our flagship professional programme Read to Lead, all courses are rooted in the principle that literature has a powerful and practical application in our lives: we teach the practice of reading for our sake, not for art’s sake alone.

"A pause on life to re-focus my principles and expectations. A place to feel more confident in my talents, and possibilities. A reconnection."

For more information on our range of courses, please contact Lisa Spurgin, Membership and Courses Assistant:

See below for listings of our open courses and Masterclasses (ongoing learning provision exclusively for trained shared reading practitioners).

Current Courses:

  • Read to Lead London
    University of Liverpool in London, 33 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1AG
    Tuesday 7th/Wednesday 8th/Thursday 9th February 2017, 9.30am-4.30pm

Applications on all courses must be accompanied with an application form, which can be downloaded below.

On The Move: Short Course for Serious Readers

led by Brian Nellist

Mondays from 9 January to 13 March 2017

Birkenhead Central Library
10.30am – 12.30pm

£45 full/ £25 concession (retired, student, unemployed, Shared Reading group members, The Reader volunteers)

Older in the history of humanity than settling down is wandering and though we often now see it as the result of disaster it can also be something chosen, a quest or a pilgrimage.

Start 2017 with some great literature, all centred around the theme of voyaging, adventuring and exploring, by joining Brian Nellist for his latest Short Course. Over ten Monday mornings Brian will be reading a selection of stories and extracts and you’re invited to come along for the journey. No prior reading is required – simply turn up and be ready to read with some fellow inquisitive travellers.

This course is the second part of a course that began in September 2016. There’s no need to have come for the first part – everyone is welcome.

For further information and to book your place, please contact or call 0151 729 2200.

On the Move: Short Course for Serious Readers


Led by Brian Nellist

Birkenhead Central Library

10.30am – 12.30pm

Mondays from 26th September – 28th November


‘Man, you gotta go.’

Older in the history of humanity than settling down is wandering and though we often now see it as the result of disaster it can also be something chosen, a quest or a pilgrimage.

In Virgil’s Aeneid (Books I and II), a middle-east war drives refugees into the perils of the Mediterranean; in Shakespeare’s Pericles, a prince who’s lost all reasons for living drifts into endless voyaging; a disgraced servant wanders through England in Fielding’s Joseph Andrews, but on the other hand out of mere curiosity Mr Pickwick sets out on his travels, in Tolstoy’s The Cossacks a man bored with civilised life sets out for the wild; in Conrad’s Youth Marlowe finds the enchantment of adventures, in Greene’s Monsignor Quixote a priest and a Marxist argue their way through Spain and Bruce Chatwin celebrates the nomad through the person of the Australian aborigine in The Songlines.

Two ten-week courses in Birkenhead Central Library (on Borough Road one bus-stop down from The Lauries) on Mondays, 10.30am-12.30pm, from September 26th and again January to March. Come to either or both, enjoy congenial company, coffee, tea and biscuits laid on, and congratulate yourself that you’ll be supporting the wonderful work of The Reader.

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