The Fremantle Book Club, a joint initiative by City of Fremantle and Fremantle Press, has officially kicked off with the aim to unite people living, working, visiting and studying in Freo around a single story.
As seen in cities around the world, including New York, Seattle and London, these community reading programs attempt to get everyone in a city to read and discuss the same book.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said Freo’s inaugural city-wide book club would support local authors, promote a culture of creativity in the community and connect likeminded literary fans.
“It’s shaping up to be a fantastic communal reading experience, which will bring together people of all backgrounds and foster discussion around the book’s themes,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“I encourage everyone who loves local stories to join in on the fun.”
Fremantle’s take on the popular literary initiative will feature a new book each quarter. Readers can share their opinions and recommendations any time on the Facebook and Goodreads groups, or attend the quarterly book club event where they’ll even have the opportunity to meet the author.
The 2018 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award winner Invisible Boys, written by Holden Sheppard, has been chosen as the first Fremantle Book Club read.
Invisible Boys is set in Geraldton and follows three 16-year-old boys in the throes of coming to terms with their sexuality. The book tackles masculinity, anger and suicide with a nuanced and unique perspective.
As a manuscript, Invisible Boys won a Ray Koppe Residency Award, and was highly commended in the 2018 ASA Emerging Writers’ Mentorship Prize. Fremantle Press published the novel in October 2019 and demand was so high it has already had a reprint.
Fremantle Press Marketing and Communications Manager Claire Miller said they were excited to launch the city-wide book club in 2020.
“It’s no secret we love being based in Fremantle,” Ms Miller said.
“Through the Fremantle Book Club we hope to make deeper connections with local readers while sharing Fremantle’s trademark love of culture and storytelling with booklovers everywhere.
“At Fremantle Press our passion for books knows no bounds so we’re looking forward to some robust online chats.”
Copies of the book are available from Fremantle Library in a variety of formats, and New Edition bookshop is giving all members a 10% discount on Fremantle Book Club titles.
A free author talk with Holden Sheppard will be held on Saturday 7 March from 3-4.30pm at Stackwood. ABC Radio Presenter Gillian O’Shaughnessy will host the ‘in-conversation’ author talk with Holden.