Reading Groups

In early 2021, our team hosted a series of reading groups, whose participants read and discuss extracts from the fiction, all of which depict a character with dementia.

The aim is to discover if the features identified in our mind style analysis are significant for readers, and to understand if – and how – literary representations can facilitate understanding of the dementia experience.

The series of 6 sessions ran separately for four different groups:

  1. people living with dementia
  2. caregivers
  3. trainee social workers
  4. general public

“…our enjoyment of fiction is predicated – at least in part – upon our awareness of our ‘trying-on’ mental states potentially available to us but at a given moment differing to our own.”

Lisa Zunshine, Why we read fiction: Theory of mind and the novel (OSH, 2006)

Analysis of the reading group data is ongoing, but the first article to arise from this stage of the research is already published (Carney et al 2023). In this article, we outline how fictional narratives offer an ‘entry point’ for discussing lived experiences of dementia and understanding contrasting perspectives on that experience. Watch this space for future publications arising from the reading groups.


Carney, G., Lugea, J., Fernandez-Quintanilla, C., Devine, P. (2023) “Sometimers, Alzheimer’s? I love That! That’s definitely me”: Readers’ Responses to Fictional Dementia Narratives, The Gerontologist