Announcing Jean Rhys Reading Week: 12th-18th September 2016

Well, this is happening! Firstly, thank you to everyone who responded and shared my post on canvassing interest in a Jean Rhys Reading Week. The response has been amazing – it seems as though several of you are keen to read and discuss Rhys’ work, which is great to hear. Early September has emerged as the most convenient or preferred option for the majority of you, so we’ve decided on w/c 12th September – please save the date in your diaries.

Jean Rhys

Also, I’m delighted to announce that Eric Karl Anderson, who writes so eloquently about books at the brilliant Lonesome Reader website, will be joining me in hosting the event. Eric is a long-standing fan of Jean Rhys, so it’ll be great to have him on board as a co-host. We’re both very excited by the prospect and we’ll be planning the event over the summer months – please do get in touch with either of us if you have any thoughts or suggestions. You can contact us via our blogs or via Twitter where we tweet @JacquiWine and @lonesomereader.

JeanRhysReadingWeek banner

In the meantime, maybe you could think about a Rhys you might like to read for the event? Ideally, we’d like as many people as possible reading and talking about Rhys during September’s event, sharing reviews, thoughts and experiences as we go through the week. Once again, thanks so much to everyone who has expressed an interest so far. It’s been wonderful to see so much love for this writer’s work over the past week!

All the best,

Jacqui and Eric

PS Eric is on holiday right now, so please don’t worry if he doesn’t respond to any messages immediately – he’ll be back shortly.

72 thoughts on “Announcing Jean Rhys Reading Week: 12th-18th September 2016

  1. Caroline

    Brill! I’ll put it in my schedule.
    BTW Diane Athill has a long section on the finishing of Wide Sargasso Sea in Stet, her memoir. I have found my copy of Carol Angier’s biography, but must have read it 30 years ag! No recollections at all.
    Now what to read?
    Caroline

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Excellent! Glad to hear it, Caroline. Yes, the Athill came up during the conversation last week – thanks for mentioning it. I’ll be interested to hear more about Angier’s biography if you decide to revisit it (plus whatever else you plump for, of course!). :)

      Reply
  2. Lady Fancifull

    Excellent. I see my shelves hold well thumbed copies of Wide Sargasso Sea, Good Morning Midnight, Tigers are Better Looking and Smile Please, so I think on this one I may not need to be doing too much buying. I also have the much enjoyed Stet by Athill on my Kindle, and re-reading the Rhys section will be useful. However, I don’t have the biography Caroline mentions………..

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Sounds like you’re all set, then! Oh yes, do have a nosey around Eric’s blog – it’s terrific, and I’m sure you’ll find plenty to tempt you there. :)

      Reply
  3. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Fabulous! So pleased. Now to rummage around amongst my Rhys books and decide which one to read! :)

    Reply
  4. MarinaSofia

    Wonderful, so pleased it’s happening and well done for getting it off the ground! By September I should have brought down my books from the attic and can see exactly which of Rhys’ novels or short stories I want to reread. I think the only one of her novels I don’t have in house is Wide Sargasso Sea, which I’ve always borrowed from the library (it’s often the easiest to find, isn’t it). I also really want to find a biography as well – but suspect I may have one either at home or at my local library in the UK – I vaguely remember reading one. (Isn’t that awful of me?)

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Not at all, I’m just so thrilled with the response! Cool – I’m glad the timings work for you, Marina, as it’ll be great to have you on board for this. I’d like to read up about her life as well. Caroline mentioned a biography by Carol Angier in her comments above, and there’s another by Lilian Pizzichini – The Blue Hour, I think. Anyway, whatever you decide to read/revisit, it’s bound to be worthwhile. Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Rhys and her work.

      Reply
  5. bookbii

    Fantastic idea Jacqui. The only challenge is which Rhys book to read. Am tempted by After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie following your review, but also tempted by Voyage in the Dark. Choices, choices.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Delighted to hear that you’ll be joining, Belinda! Two great novels, there – as you say, decisions, decisions. In some ways, I’m quite glad I read Mr Mackenzie before Voyage as I think the latter is a more complex book. Either way though, you’ve got a great read to look forward to. :)

      Reply
  6. Guy Savage

    I’m not quite sure what’s going to be happening in September, so I can’t commit, but I will read the posts. I’ve read a lot of Rhys but it’s been a few years ago now.

    Reply
  7. Brian Joseph

    I have never read Jean Rhys but she seems well worth reading.

    I am glad that the reading week is being announced so far in advance. I will try to join in.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Would be fab if you could, Brian. I genuinely believe she’s one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. At least one of her books — Wide Sargasso Sea, at a guess — must be on those book lists you shared a little earlier.

      Reply
  8. Hayley at RatherTooFondofBooks

    I’m so pleased that this is definitely going ahead. I’ve put it on my calendar and am already looking forward to it. I think I’d like to re-read Voyage in the Dark as it’s one of my favourite books but I might take the opportunity to read one of her other novels that I know less well.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Excellent news. Thanks, Hayley – I’m glad you’re up for it. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts whichever Rhys you decide to read in the end. I thought Voyage was superb, an early contender for my book of the year.

      Reply
      1. Hayley at RatherTooFondofBooks

        I’ve just ordered a second-hand copy of a biography of Jean Rhys so I’m going to read that in the run up to the Jean Rhys week on your blog. Voyage is one of my favourite books – I get something different from it on every re-read.

        Reply
  9. Caroline

    I might participate in a slightly different way. Some – many – years ago I wrote an artilce for a German fanzine on her. Maybe I’ll translate it or use it as a base for something new.

    Reply
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  11. carols44

    I’m interested in re-visiting her work too, I read all I could find published many years ago, and Germaine Greer on her too. When I suggested her for a paper I had to write (in my final year) towards my degree. the lecturer turned her down as a subject for being ‘too slight’ – I was puzzled but lacking self-confidence turned to the canon. I have the Pizzichini somewhere unread so this will be an opportunity. R4 have dramatised her short stories over the years and I’m sure documented her life.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Oh, please do join us. How sad to hear that your University lecturer turned her down as being too slight, that’s such a shame! She has been unjustly neglected for many years. Thanks for the tip about the coverage by R4 – I’ll take a look at their archives to see if any of these programmes are still available

      Reply
  12. RareBird

    I’ve been curious about Rhys for a long time, but more so after reading Stet. This event sounds like just the thing to sate that curiosity. Looking forward to it!

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Excellent news! The Backlisted podcast is terrific, isn’t it? I think they’ve done a lot to generate interest in reading/revisiting Jean Rhys.

      Reply
  13. Séamus Duggan

    Somehow missed this post. I finished Wide Sargasso Sea a few weeks back and it is in the ‘to be blogged about’ pile sitting on my desk. I might manage to get a post together for this… hopefully.

    Reply
  14. Mary

    Will be joining you in your reading of Jean Rhys.
    Have reserved a copy of After Leaving Mr Mackenzie from my library.
    Looking forward to this.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      That’s excellent news, Mary – thank you. I’m so glad you got in touch via GoodReads as we seem to share an interest in a number of writers; Rhys, Elizabeth Taylor and Elizabeth Bowen to name just a few. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Mr Mackenzie. :)

      Reply
      1. Mary

        Thank you Jacqui,
        Hope my book comes from the library in time to read.
        Lovely to find someone with the same love of books.

        Reply
        1. JacquiWine Post author

          Fingers crossed it will come through for you, Mary. The members of my book group will be reading Mr Mackenzie for September so I’m curious to hear what they make of it too.

          Reply
    2. Mary

      Unfortunately the Library book hasn’t come yet so I will be late with my review.
      So disappointed as I ordered it ages ago but we only have a drop off once a month so will now be my October read.
      Sorry!

      Reply
      1. JacquiWine Post author

        Oh no, what a pity! Never mind. I’ll still be very interested in your views on Mr Mackenzie whenever you are ready to share them. Thanks for letting me know. :)

        Reply
  15. Abby K

    Hi Jacqui, I can’t wait for Reading Rhys week (not that I need an excuse to read any Jean Rhys!). Thinking of re-reading Good Morning Midnight. Would love to know what your reading plans will be for the week!

    Thanks to you and Eric for organising a fab week; amazing to find others on the Internet who love Rhys too!

    Abby

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Hi Abby, thanks so much for dropping by. Delighted to hear that you’ll be joining in with the Reading Week. GMM sounds like a great choice, and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the re-read.

      Still putting plans in place for the week – we’ll put out a post a little nearer the time. I’ll definitely be focusing on her stories, both the early pieces from The Left Bank and the later ones in Tigers are Better Looking. Hoping to get my book group involved in reading one of the novels too, probably Mr Mackenzie as it’s a little easier to get to grips with than some of her other works. Eric will be re-reading some of the novels, so between the two or us we’re hoping to cover most of her work (one or two other bloggers have offered to help as well).

      As you say, it’s exciting to see the level of interest in #ReadingRhys and exchanging views on her work. Should be a great week!

      Reply
  16. Carola

    Like I said on Twitter, I’m very keen to join! Happy I saw the Tweet :) I think I’ll read “Good Morning, Midnight”, but this is my first Jean Rhys so if you have any other recommendations I’ll gladly follow them!

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Glad to hear you’re up for it, Carola! As for where to start with Rhys, it depends. If you want to go for one of her best then ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ sounds like a great choice – I’ve yet to read it myself but have heard so many great things. I started with After Leaving Mr Mackenzie which proved to be a good intro to her early work. Whatever you chose, it’s bound to be good. :)

      Reply
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