Life’s too short for bad books – but with a new book published every 30 seconds, it can be hard to know where to start.

That’s why The School of Life set up a bibliotherapy service: to guide you to those amazing but often elusive works of literature, both past and present, that have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.

In a consultation with one of our bibliotherapists, you'll explore your relationship with books so far and be asked to explore new literary directions. Perhaps you're looking for an author whose style you love so much you will want to devour every word they've ever written. Perhaps you’re about to trek across China and need to find ideal travel companions to download onto your kindle. Maybe you’re feeling disconnected from the world and want to listen to the classics of your childhood during your daily commute. Or you’re seeking a change in your life and want to hold the hand of people who've been there and done that already.

Whatever your concerns, dreams or challenges, we'll devote ourselves to creating an inspirational reading prescription that's tailor-made for you.

You can also buy Bibliotherapy gift vouchers here.

About Bibliotherapy

Our bibliotherapists specialise in works of fiction but also prescribe select works of philosophy, poetry and other creative non-fiction. They give one to one sessions, and run group sessions. They've appeared extensively in the UK and international press, and have spoken at festivals around the country.

They have recently published The Novel Cure: an A-Z of Literary Remedies (Canongate).

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of the session. You'll be given an instant prescription to take away. Your full prescription will follow within a couple of days.

For an insight into the role good writing can play in our lives, watch our short film, What is Literature For? 


This service is part of our EQ Certificate Programme. For more information about how to enrol at The School of Life please click here


Ella Berthoud started reading on a journey from Tehran to London, on the parcel shelf of a Wolsey 1300 when she was five. She spent the next thirteen years reading books in inappropriate places. Ella first started talking about bibliotherapy with Susan Elderkin when they were at Cambridge together. Over the ensuing years they prescribed literature to their friends and family, while Ella worked as an artist and Susan wrote her own novels.

Simona Lyons joined the team in 2010. She has spent as long as she can remember with her head in a book and spent over a decade running an independent bookshop in North London before becoming a bibliotherapist. She loves nothing more than matching the right book to the right person and spreading her love of the written word.

Susan Elderkin is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, Sunset over Chocolate Mountains and The Voices. One of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003, she also works as a critic and has taught creative writing on the MA courses at Birkbeck and Goldsmith’s. The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin was published in September 2013 by Canongate. Susan is based in New York, USA.

Estelle Tang is an editor and writer who puts her reading to use as program advisor at Melbourne Writers Festival and editorial advisor at Paper Radio. Her writing has been published in Australian Book Review, Meanjin online, the Wheeler Centre’s Long View series, The Lifted Brow, The Big Issue and heard on Radio National. Estelle is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Booking and Venue

Sessions can take place in-person in London, Melbourne or the New York area or remotely via phone or skype. Our bibliotherapists will contact you within 2/3 days to arrange a convenient time to meet.

The School of Life
70 Marchmont Street

Please specify in-person or remote when booking.

Please note we need two working days to transfer or refund a booking.


The idea that really marks out The School of Life from other book enterprises is their recommendation service, Bibliotherapy - a specialist will help you choose books perfectly suited to you; a sort of literary personal trainer, it's the perfect way to pick your way through the minefield of what to read next.
– The Guardian

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Please note we need two working days notice to transfer or refund a booking.