An all-female book club has been set up outside Lurgan to create a safe space for women to connect with others locally and build new relationships.
‘The Lit Chicks’ hatched their brand-new book club in Bleary Business Centre earlier this month and, despite being in its infancy, it already boasts over 40 members – and is growing!
Zoe Brankin set up the group alongside her friends Naomi Fearnon and Shauna Skelton after the ‘BookTok’ craze on the social media platform TikTok helped to kindle her love for all-things literature.
“I think TikTok has really changed the way people view books now,” said Zoe. “I started out about a year ago and then with that I started sharing some stuff on my Instagram stories about what I was reading.
“Through that I connected with two other girls who I had known from school and we started to connect over things that we were reading. Then we thought we’d love to start a book club!”
While ‘The Lit Chicks’ initially planned to meet in Zoe’s house, the huge demand for the book club meant they had to seek out the bigger venue, where they hope to meet once a month.
“We really didn’t think we were going to get many people but we’re now sitting at over 40 members and it’s continuing to grow, so it’s quite exciting. We really didn’t think anybody would want to join!”
Zoe says that the aim of the group is primarily to build relationships and forge new friendships through a shared love for books.
“A lot of the girls are in their 20s and at that age it’s really hard to make new friends – and that’s exactly what we want. We want book club to be a place for women to come together and share recommendations and have a discussion.
“We want to make them feel safe and make them feel like they have a voice. There’s no obligation to read the book. If you just need an hour’s peace in your life for once a month you’re more than welcome to join.
“We literally just get together, have a cup of tea, chat about the book and then spend a lot of time chatting to each other. It’s a really good way for women to start connecting again in the community.”
Continued Zoe: “We want to provide a space as well, for if anyone is ever struggling we want to make sure they have people to go to. We’re also very keen to start putting back into the community as well, as we’ve been talking about potential fundraisers coming up to Christmas.
“We really want to start gathering books too because one thing about reading is that it’s a really lovely hobby to have, but books are so expensive. We’re really encouraging book swap as well to be sustainable.”
The club also acts as a safe space for local women.
“I want somewhere for people who are struggling to build new relationships. That does make our book club stand out and we have shaped our whole mission and goals around being a safe space for women, where their voices can be heard.
“Whether we have 10 women or 50 women, we don’t care, we just want to get together and talk about books.”
With over 30 people attending the club’s first meeting last week, Zoe says she is excited for what the future holds for ‘The Lit Chicks’.
Added Zoe: “We didn’t expect to get to this level so quickly. We’ve only had one meeting and it’s lovely that more people keep reaching out to me saying they’d love to join. We’re just so excited about the possibility of being able to spread awareness and share some goodness in the community.”
If you are interested in joining ‘The Lit Chicks’, you can reach out by emailing the club at email@example.com