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The Brautigan Book Club is an international creative society inspired by the American Beat writer and counterculture icon, Richard Brautigan. We no longer meet on a monthly basis, but very much welcome news from Brautiganites no matter where you are in the world. Send us a hello, news of what you’re making, the story of how you found your first Brautigan, a tale of what you got up to today, random thoughts, photos, films, anything. We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to get in touch or hear about future Brautigan events, email me on vera@brautiganbookclub.co.uk. You may also be interested in the Brautigan Free Press which grew out of our meetings here.

Through 2012, we organised monthly free and open events at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Each month, we used one of Brautigan’s novels as a jumping off point for self-expression. We invited guests, experts and laypeople, to present things they’d made in response to the novel in question – films, writing, cakes, badges, music, etc. – in a Show and Tell format. Volunteers made gifts and tokens which were given out to everyone who attended, and we often made simple things in situ.

The Brautigan Book Club, with saltpeter as producer, organised three extra-ordinary events in 2012: the launch event, curated by Nemonie Craven with Polly Frame, featuring specially commissioned work by Gruff Rhys, Martin Carr, Thom Tuck, Zoe Gardner, H. Hawkline, and Aaron Williamson; our three day, three event offering at the inaugural Dinefwr Literature Festival in Carmarthenshire, organised by Literature Wales and Coracle; and So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away, the year end bash, featuring Martin Carr, Joan and Barry Grantham, Spirit of Play, and Samantha Mann.

Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) is an American writer. His easy-to-read yet idiosyncratic prose style is seen as the best characterisation of the cultural electricity prevalent in San Francisco during the last years of the Beat Generation and the emergence of the counterculture movement.

*The Brautigan Book Club was founded by Vera Chok, with the help of Michael Caines, Fuchsia Voremberg, Peter J Law and Matt Hope. Brautigan Book Club events were produced by saltpeter as part of its role as an artistic hub.

The Club provides a warm, informal setting in which Brautigan is our starting point. Though each meeting features a guest speaker presenting a response to the book, we encourage everyone to share their responses, no matter how elliptical. Anything from re-enacting a moment from a book, baking a cake, writing a song, even planting a garden; all and everything is wanted. We will weave a selection into a handmade ‘zine’ at the end of the year – a Brautigan-inspired creative retrospective, if you will, and nod towards self-publishing.

The particular beauty of The Brautigan Book Club is that it encourages total freedom of expression. It nurtures creative friendships and critical dialogue, both online and through live events, across the globe.

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