July Book Club - Pip Williams: The Dictionary of Lost Words

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 8:00pm to 8:45pm


Titcomb's Bookshop warmly invites you to join us in reading Pip Williams' newest novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words for our July Book Club! We will be meeting virtually on Zoom with the author Pip Williams to discuss the book on Tuesday July 19th at 8:00pm.


“Enchanting, sorrowful, and wonderfully written, the book is a one-of-a-kind celebration of language  and its importance in our lives. A must-have.”—Library Journal (Starred Review!) 

“Do words mean different things to men and women? That is the question at the heart of Williams’  thoughtful and gentle first novel based on original research in the Oxford English Dictionary archives… A lexicographer’s dream of a novel, this is a lovely book to get lost in, an imaginative love letter to dictionaries.”—Booklist

“Intriguing…The Dictionary of Lost Words is a searching, feminist exploration of how class and  gender affect the boundaries of language. This sweeping coming-of-age story, set against a tumultuous  time in British history, is a historical fiction fan's dream.”—Shelf Awareness

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and ever-curious, she spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a corrugated iron shed in Oxford, England, where her father and fellow lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. While they work, young Esme begins to collect other words, words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men. 

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common  folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose vocabulary will fill those pages. 

Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement, THE DICTIONARY OF LOST  WORDS reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men.  Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford  English Dictionary to tell this original story. THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS is a  delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of  language to shape the world.


Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney, and now lives in Australia's Adelaide Hills. She is the author of One Italian Summer, a memoir of her family's travels in search of the good life, which was published in Australia to wide acclaim. The Dictionary of Lost Words is her first novel.

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The Dictionary of Lost Words: A Novel By Pip Williams Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984820747
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 3rd, 2022