Welwyn Garden City Literary Society
Welwyn Garden City Literary Society was officially formed in 1957
Long before the modern trend for book groups and book clubs, it was common for a town to have a Literary and Debating Society. Welwyn Garden City Literature Society had its first full season in 1958/9, though a group had met at the library informally before that to discuss literature. It met first in the library that was situated in a converted house at 9 Guessens Road and its Chairman until 1964 was Ronald Sturt, the town’s Librarian. The cost of membership was 2s 6d (about 12p).
Titles discussed that season included The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Room at the Top by John Braine, Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, The Cocktail Party by TS Eliot, Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell and the Poetry of Yeats.
When the new library was opened on the college campus, in 1960, the Society moved its meetings there. By 1962, the Society had settled into a regular pattern, meeting on alternate Mondays at 8pm.
Another move occurred in 1973, when the current library was opened at The Campus West.
The Society continued to have a close relationship with the library during all this time, a relationship reinforced by our treasurer from 1964 to 1995 being the Senior Assistant County Librarian, Mike Hughes.
A few of the many notable visiting presenters over the years have included Sir Frederick Osborne, leading member of the Garden City movement; St Albans poet, John Mole; John Hitchin, Director of Penguin Books; Hatfield dramatist, David Cregan; poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell and poet Dannie Abse.
We are still active and hold fortnightly evenings to discuss modern fiction, non-fiction, poetry, theatre and older literary classics. We are Informal and friendly, open to everyone who enjoys reading and discussing books. Please contact us is you are interested in coming along