Welcome to The Woodstock Bookshop

The shop opened in May 2008 and is on the main road in Woodstock, just next to the bus stop. We can supply most books to order by the next day and have several thousand books in stock: to order books ring or email the shop. We have a large selection of children's books and are happy to advise and recommend. We can also supply second-hand and out-of-print titles. We offer discounts for school orders and for book clubs and have a free local delivery service.

We were on the regional shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2009, 2013 and 2017, and listed in the Independent's Top 50 UK Bookshops.

Two monthly book groups take place at the bookshop - a poetry group, initially formed to read collections submitted for the annual T S Eliot Prize and now following a slightly wider brief; and a book group focusing more on fiction. Both are open to everyone but occasionally space is limited - please contact us for details.

We hold a series of informal talks and readings throughout the year. If you buy any book at the talk the cost of the ticket will be deducted. Please ring or email to book a place - early booking advisable.

This year (November 9-11) is the 7th Woodstock Poetry Festival - organised entirely by the bookshop. Full details soon.

The Woodstock Literature Society also holds an excellent series of monthly talks - do visit their website for further details.

Twitter: @WoodstockBooks

Thursday, 3 May 2018

10 years ago today

10 years ago today - it was a bank holiday Saturday, May 3 2008 - I opened the doors of The Woodstock Bookshop and my first customer came in at 9.30 on the dot. Did we have a book on edible flowers? I had thought of many books we should stock but that wasn't among them. The order haunted me for weeks - the book was about to be printed, not yet printed, printing postponed. From time to time the customer rang, asking what was happening, where the book was. It was not the most auspicious start!

But that first day was tremendous. Person after person came in, stood by the door with widespread arms, saying 'Welcome to Woodstock!' - and they also bought books. They have continued to buy books and to welcome the shop and support the monthly talks and the poetry festival we started in 2011. We ran a series of talks in the old skittle alley by The White Horse pub at Stonesfield - Writers at the White Horse, which sadly came to an end when the pub turned the skittle alley into a house. We worked closely with Andy Morgan who organised 100 Wootton Village Hall Talks, and our tenth anniversary talk is taking place in the splendidly appointed Wootton Village Hall next week on May 11. We have run book groups in local primary schools and several book groups in the shop too. We have a thriving poetry group - reading poems together, not writing them.

There have been so many high points it is not possible to include them all. One was when Henning Mankell came with the BBC World Book Club and we all packed St Mary's Church while he talked about his work. Another was when the shop window (and every conceivable spare wall inside the shop, too) was filled with poems and illustrations by children from Woodstock Primary School. The support of local writers has been heartening and the Woodstock Poetry Festival has flourished thanks to the support of all the poets living in and around Oxford and to musicians Mick Henry and Nick Hooper, without whom we wouldn't have had last year's tremendous finale to the festival when Peggy Seeger joined Bernard O'Donoghue and Nick Hooper's band for an unforgettable evening at Woodstock Social Club.

Finally, I would like to thank Janie, Merle and Nikki, who run the shop when I am away and offer sound advice when I am around. You keep things going.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Now we are 10! Come and celebrate at Wootton Village Hall

Now we are 10! An evening of Fact and Fiction: Carys Davies and Julie Summers, 11 May, Wootton Village Hall, 7.30pm

We would love you to come and celebrate the bookshop’s 10th anniversary at Wootton Village Hall, where we have sold books for so many of the Wootton Village Hall talks. The evening will comprise two short talks – the first about a very special first novel, published on 3 May (the date the bookshop opened its doors in 2008), and the second a welcome return to Wootton by Julie Summers, this time to tell us about Blenheim during the war.

Carys Davies has previously published two volumes of outstanding short stories and won the 2015 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. She will be discussing West, her first novel. Recently she was interviewed on Radio 4's Open Book and you can hear that here

Julie Summers will talk about her latest book, Our Uninvited Guests - the secret lives of Britain's country houses 1939-45, which includes a section on Blenheim Palace.

This is a celebration of the shop's 10th birthday and an opportunity for some of the shop’s many customers to get to know each other. During the past ten years we have held many talks and six poetry festivals. The bookshop has been shortlisted three times for independent bookseller of the year and made it to the Independent’s Top 50 bookshops in the country. None of this would have been possible without our customers and your support and we would like to say a very big thank you to you all.

Entry (at £5) includes a glass of wine; and wine and sandwiches will be served following the talks. Please book in advance by ringing or emailing The Woodstock Bookshop.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

How do you get your child to read books?

I love this. It's so true, too - how often do adults sit and read in front of their children? I remember once travelling by train with two of my younger children - as we pulled in to the station the woman opposite bent forward and said, 'I just wanted to say how much I admire the way all three of you have been reading for the whole journey.' The children were a bit puzzled - what else would they have been doing!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Animals in the shop

Just had the sweetest child in the shop who rearranged all the animals (and many of the books)

TS Eliot Prize Shortlist 2017

The 2017 TS Eliot prize shortlist

(Poets marked with an asterisk are appearing at Woodstock Poetry Festival)

The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx, Tara Bergin (Carcanet)

*In these Days of Prohibition, Caroline Bird (Carcanet)

*The Noise of a Fly, Douglas Dunn (Faber & Faber)

The Radio, Leontia Flynn (Cape Poetry)

So Glad I’m Me, Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe)

Mancunia, Michael Symmons Roberts (Cape Poetry)

Diary of the Last Man, Robert Minhinnick (Carcanet)

The Abandoned Settlements, James Sheard (Cape Poetry)

*All My Mad Mothers, Jacqueline Saphra (Nine Arches Press)

Night Sky With Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong (Cape Poetry)

For more information see here

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bookshop Day

The best customers

Monday, 4 September 2017

6th Woodstock Poetry Festival 10-12 November 2017

Booking is now open for the festival - it is advisable to book early for all events particularly those in the Town Hall as numbers are limited. The flyers have been published and are available in the bookshop:

Friday to Sunday 10-12 November 2017

Friday 10 November
7.30 pm Douglas Dunn & Jim Carruth. £10
The Noise of a Fly is Douglas Dunn's first collection since The Year's Afternoon (2000). He was awarded the Queen's gold medal for poetry in 2013. 'It is hard to think of many poets who can equal his combination of imaginative ambition, formal resource and range of tone' – Sean O'Brien; 'The most respected Scottish poet of his generation' – Nicholas Wroe. Jim Carruth was appointed the poet laureate of Glasgow in July 2014. His most recent collection is Black Cart, published this year. 'Many of these narratives make the reader think of Robert Frost: there is no higher praise for the modern pastoral' – Bernard O'Donoghue

Saturday 11 November
11.15 am – Free children's event, Woodstock Library. Richard O'Brien reads from The Noisy Classroom – poems about school aimed at children aged 7+. Tickets from the library, advance booking essential

2.30 pm The Emma Press & Nine Arches Press. £8
Two of the best independent publishers of poetry discuss their work and introduce some of their poets: Jane Commane, founder of Nine Arches Press, is joined by Rishi Dastidar & Jacqueline Saphra, with Emma Wright, Andrew Wynn Owen and Rachel Piercey.

4.30pm Anne Stevenson. £10
Highly acclaimed Anglo-American poet, critic and biographer who has lived most of her life in Britain. Her Poems 1955-2005 are published by Bloodaxe and In the Orchard, her most recent collection, by Enitharmon: '...a contemporary Emily Dickinson, a poet who works on a small canvas, quietly, with big themes' – Jay Parini; 'She is wise without portentousness, her technique faultless and her imagination fiery, political and fresh' – Carol Rumens, Independent

6pm George Szirtes & David Harsent. £10
George Szirtes, distinguished translator and poet, came here from Hungary as a refugee at the age of eight. Reel won the 2004 T.S.Eliot prize – 'a brilliantly virtuosic collection of deeply felt poems concerned with the personal impact of the dislocations and betrayals of history' – Douglas Dunn. His most recent collections are How to be a Tiger, for children, and Mapping the Delta (Bloodaxe).
David Harsent is reading from his latest book, Salt (Faber). His previous collection Firesongs won the 2014 T.S.Eliot Prize. He has worked with composer Harrison Birtwistle on many opera collaborations. 'It is hard to think of any poet working in this country today who is so demanding, both of himself and of the reader; harder still to think of one who is as morally and imaginatively rewarding' - John Burnside

Sunday 12 November
2.30 pm Pamphlets and open mic. £5
Jenny Lewis, of The Poets House, Oxford introduces three new pamphlets by Adnan al-Sayegh, Sarah Watkinson and Gina Wilson followed by an open mic - please book ahead if you would like to participate.

4.30pm Caroline Bird & Keith Jarrett. £8
A great performer on page and stage, playwright and poet Caroline Bird introduces her fifth Carcanet collection, In These Days of Prohibition: '...irrepressible; she simply explodes with poetry' - Simon Armitage. Keith Jarrett, former London and UK Poetry Slam! Champion, published his first collection Selah with Burning Eye Books this year. Regular Woodstock Festival goers who heard him at the StAnza festival were so impressed they begged us to book him. No higher recommendation!

6.30pm Four Quartets – Woodstock Methodist Church. £10 
T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets with Ashley Ramsden and Flora Pethybridge - a beautiful and revelatory tandem telling of Eliot's masterpiece.

8.30pm Peggy Seeger, Bernard O'Donoghue & DellyWellyBoot Band. £10
Peggy Seeger, legendary singer and songmaker, joins us in Woodstock Social Club on the publication of her new memoir First Time Ever. Nick Hooper, guitar, Susanna Starling, bass, and Judith Hooper, fiddle, play and sing an eclectic mix of traditional and self-penned music. Bernard O'Donoghue reads from recent work.

Tickets and information: 01993 812760.
Festival ticket giving entry to all events - £50, children and students half price
Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events
Readings are held upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall unless indicated