Girl Reading

Seven portraits. Seven artists. Seven girls and women reading.

A young orphan poses nervously for a Renaissance maestro in medieval Siena, and an artist’s servant girl in 17th-century Amsterdam snatches a moment away from her work to lose herself in tales of knights and battles. A young woman reading in a Shoreditch bar catches the eye of a young man who takes her picture, and a Victorian medium holds a book that she barely acknowledges while she waits for the exposure.

Each chapter of this richly textured debut takes us into a perfectly imagined tale of how each portrait came to be, and as the connections accumulate, the narrative leads us into the present and beyond ― an inspired celebration of women reading and the artists who have caught them in the act.

Girl Reading - Katie Ward UK Book Cover

Girl Reading is published by

Virago (Little, Brown Book Group UK)

Scribner (Simon & Schuster US)

박하 Bakha (책 읽는 소녀 :케이티 워드 South Korea)

Kindle, Audible, iTunes, and CD formats are also available.

Buy The Book



‘A debut of rare individuality and distinction … Ward is wise, poised, and utterly original’ – HILARY MANTEL

‘This is a real wow of a first novel … her talent sings off the page’ – VIV GROSKOP, THE TIMES

‘A lively, irreverent and even feminist journey through history’ – TIME OUT

‘Each vignette is a masterfully drawn miniature’ – THE TELEGRAPH

‘Reads as though its author is five books down’ – THE GUARDIAN

‘I was so moved’ – MEERA SYAL, TV BOOK CLUB, CHANNEL 4

‘Book of the Week’ – LIFE LIFT, THE OPRAH BLOG