Many of the interviews from the Memories of Fiction archive are available to listen to. The links below provide access to interview summaries, book titles mentioned and other information alongside the full audio interviews. Please refer to the terms and conditions below.

The interviews were collected from reading group members based in libraries in the Wandsworth borough of London. Most people were interviewed twice, and the interviews were loosely structured. The first interviews usually focused on personal backgrounds and reading habits with questions about birthplace, occupation, family-life, education, hobbies, reading habits of family members, group reading, the role of reading during different phases of life, influential books, types of readers and how they became involved with their respective reading groups. Second interviews expanded on reading habits with questions about learning to read, how reading made them feel as a child, memorable books and what is remembered about books, sharing books, identification with characters, reading to one’s children, favourite and least-favourite genres and books, bibliotherapy, rereading, electronic books and writing habits, for example. Main themes also include education, holidays, illness, libraries, religion, social class, television adaptations.

Interviewees were born between 1936 and 1971 with one interviewee born in 1988, and came from the United Kingdom (U.K.), Australia, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sudan and the United States of America (USA). They worked in variety of industries, including advertising, banking, business, catering, civil service, education, graphic design, healthcare, home care, horticulture, housewifery, information technology, libraries, music, office administration, psychotherapy, publishing and retail.

Almost six-hundred books are discussed across all the interviews, including classics, crime-fiction, science-fiction, children’s literature, biography, poetry, plays, philosophy and Victorian literature.

Almost two-thirds of the interviews are available here. Others have restrictions due for example to stipulations that they be closed or made available only on request. The collection is also accessible through the University of Roehampton library catalogue. For more information please contact Shelley Trower:

Terms and conditions

  • Unless otherwise stated, all audio files are copyrighted to Wandsworth Heritage Service.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all related texts are copyrighted to Dr Shelley Trower.
  • Use of the audio files and related material found on this website is permitted for purposes of research and education only. The full source must be attributed. Commercial use requires prior written permission from the copyright holder.
  • Researchers and educators are welcome to use the materials so long as that use conforms to Copyright Law and guidelines for fair use.