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March Book Club - Wednesday, March 6th

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This March we will be reading and discussing The Dictionary of Lost Words by by Australian writer Pip Williams. It was sixth on the list of Australian fiction bestsellers for 2020 and as of 18 January 2021 it had sold more than 100,000 copies. This novel was chosen in recognition of Women’s History Month.

An enchanting story about love, loss and the power of language. Sometimes you have to start with what’s lost

Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutter to the floor unclaimed.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. But to do so she must journey into a world on the cusp of change as the Great War looms and women fight for the vote. Can the power of lost words from the past finally help her make sense of her future?

About the author:

Pip Williams was born in London, England, before migrating to Sydney, New South Wales, where she grew up before settling in the Adelaide Hills where she still lives.

Williams’ second novel is The Bookbinder of Jericho. Also set in Oxford, during the First World War, the story centers on two sisters who work at a book bindery. It is interesting to note that several characters from The Dictionary of Lost Words also appear The Bookbinder of Jericho.

Our March Book Club meets on Wednesday, March 6th, at 7:00 p.m. You may attend in-person at the library or via Zoom; e-mail Clara at for the Zoom link.

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