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 Bookseller of the Year in 2008 and 2013, and listed in the recent Independent's Top 50 UK Bookshops.

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.

The Woodstock Literature Society and Wootton Village Hall also hold excellent series of monthly talks - do visit their websites for further details.

Twitter: @WoodstockBooks

Monday, 23 November 2015

Liz Berry - two new poems

If you heard Liz Berry read at this year's poetry festival you would have heard these two new poems - and if you didn't you can read them!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Woodstock Poetry Festival 2015 - comments

I am starting to plan next year's poetry festival - it will be our fifth - so if you have any particular requests do send them in and I will see what can be arranged. In the meantime, here are a few of the responses we had to this year's festival. Many thanks to all the poets who came, and to the many customers and poetry lovers who came together in such large and appreciative numbers to make an audience.

Customer and audience comments:
'May I congratulate you on a very successful poetry festival, and thank you for all your work in organising and running the readings...I enjoyed the festival enormously, some excellent poets and very rewarding readings.'

'Thank you for such a wonderful programme recently at the Festival - I thought Tony Harrison especially was a treasure of a reading and am so glad to have had the chance to hear him, and in a pulpit!'

'I look forward to next years festival.' 

'This was my first poetry festival and I loved it. Hope to come again next year.'

' ...the most successful Woodstock Poetry festival ever. I was extremely impressed by Katrina Porteous, and of course it was thrilling to hear Don Paterson. In fact all the readings I went to were hugely enjoyable...It is very exciting to have such a scintillating poetry event on the doorstep.'

'Thank you for the best weekend I’ve had for years. You chose a brilliant collection of poets and all seemed to go so smoothly. Delicious food. Wonderful atmosphere. I’m so grateful. With love, and thanks to your supporting team,'

'Just to say how good I thought the Festival and how well chosen and organised. Thanks to all.' 

'The festival was amazing! Especially Tony Harrison, Elaine Feinstein and Katrina Porteous - please bring them back'

'I meant to write at once to thank you and congratulate you on yet another brilliantly successful festival. Apart from the sheer quality of the poets reading, one thing that worked really well was being able to just step next door for some of those wonderful cakes and teas poured so charmingly by Molly. It was great not having to go outside, but to be able to keep on talking about the poetry and indeed to some of the poets and then just slip seamlessly back into the hall for the next treat...We were all bowled over by Tony Harrison so it would be great if he came back.'

'Many congratulations on the Poetry Festival - the huge amount of organisation required was very much well worthwhile.  I greatly enjoyed the Harrison reading in particular.'

'I think you created something absolutely amazing over the weekend'

'...I congratulate you on the success of the Poetry Festival with its combination of new and established poets. We thoroughly enjoyed every session we attended, and were only sorry that we weren't free to go to every one of them. And the final gathering in the Social Club was a delight!'

Messages from the performers:
Katrina Porteous: 'You've done something really extraordinary, to bring all those poets and poetry-lovers together. It as a triumph. To have done this at a time when things could not be tougher for poets OR for independent bookshops is nothing less than miraculous. You are amazing! Many, many congratulations!
     'I know how hard you and your team of volunteers worked to make it all happen. I hope that you were able to enjoy the weekend, in spite of all that effort. It was certainly great fun for the participants. I wasn't exaggerating when I said that last years' Woodstock Poetry Festival was the highpoint of my year. This year's has been every bit as good -- perhaps even better. How wonderful to hear Kathleen Jamie and Tony Harrison! Such different styles, but both of them real stars. Great to have the chance to present 'Horse', and to perform alongside Helen Mort and Alan Buckley, to such a warm and receptive audience. Lovely to meet up with so many friends from last year. And such an honour to launch Shorelines. It really is the most beautiful book. Fabulous that we could hear three of the other contributors read, too. That gave it even more of a sense of occasion.' 

Alan Buckley: 'Thank you again for all your hard work organising and promoting the festival, it's very heartening to see poets reading to large and appreciative audiences...Seeing Tony Harrison read was definitely one of the poetry highlights of the year for me, so glad you were able to book him for the festival.' (See here for a recent interview with Tony Harrison)

Nick Hooper: 'A wonderful audience' 

Helen Mort: 'Thanks for having us and for organising such a superb festival. The Tony Harrison reading will stay with me forever, it really was a rare moment... extremely inspiring. A masterclass on how to write and how to read.' 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Venues for Woodstock Poetry Festival 2015

All but two of the readings for this year's Woodstock Poetry Festival will be held upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall (there is a chair lift and disabled access but please warn us if you need to use this). Tony Harrison's reading on Sunday 15th November is held in St Mary Magdalene Church, the parish church near the Town Hall, and the final event of the festival - the evening of Irish music and poetry - is in Woodstock Social Club. The social club is much larger than it looks from the road - not just a lovely Georgian house, it extends a long way at the back and beyond the bar is the ballroom where the music and readings are being held.

We are serving tea and cakes between afternoon events and wine on Friday evening - with sandwiches between Friday's readings as there will not be time between the readings to have supper. Woodstock Social club has a bar where you can buy your own drinks.

Most talks and readings last up to an hour - there will be time after Tony Harrison's reading to have something quick to eat in town before going on to the social club for 8pm but you might have to order it in advance...

We are not able to use Woodstock Methodist Church this year as it has building work going on at the back.

Please ring if you would like any further information about the festival.

Friday to Sunday, 13 - 15 November 2015

7 pm Don Paterson & Kei Miller. Kei Miller's recent book won the 2014 Forward Prize; Don Paterson's new collection is 40 Sonnets: £8 to include wine and sandwiches.

8.30 pm Sarah Howe, Choman Hardi & Liz Berry. A very welcome return by Liz Berry, reading new work, with Kurdish poet Choman Hardi's second collection Considering the Woman, and Sarah Howe's debut Loop of Jade. £8

2.30 pm Patrick McGuinness & Rian Evans discuss the work of Rian's father, John Ormond, whose Collected Poems was published this year. £8

4 pm Elaine Feinstein & Jonathan Edwards. Jonathan Edwards won the Costa Poetry Prize for his first collection; Elaine Feinstein's latest collection is Portaits: both explore people - family, friends and heroes (super and literary...). £8

6 pm Kathleen Jamie reading from The Bonniest Companie - her first poetry collection since The Overhaul - a visionary response to the past year in Scotland. £8

7.30 pm Katrina Porteous reads from her own work and launches Shorelines, the third anthology edited by Janie Hextall and Barbara McNaught. We invite you to celebrate Shorelines and the new edition of Washing Lines with wine and sandwiches.

2 pm Jenny Lewis introduces Sarah Watkinson, Catherine Faulds, Jennie Carr and Lyn Thornton from the Poet's House, Oxford, followed by tea and an open mic session (please contact us to book a slot). £5

4 pm Poetry in Performance £8
Katrina Porteous, Horse – inspired by the Uffington White Horse, this poem with electronic music by Peter Zinovieff was commissioned by Radio 3 and is performed live by Katrina Porteous, whose recitals are inspirational and mesmeric. It lasts 28 minutes. There is a limited edition of the poem, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill who also provided the cover art for Kathleen Jamie's new book.
There will be a short interval followed by
Helen Mort & Alan Buckley, 'The Body Beautiful' - questions, observations and challenges about our bodies and how we live through them (approx. 45 minutes).

6 pm Tony Harrison, winner of this year's David Cohen Prize for literature.
'slangy, rooted, erudite, rhythmic, Harrison is a titan among poets, a unique Yorkshire brand of Auden, Byron, Brecht and Kipling with a slug of Roman satire' – Boyd Tonkin, Independent
Tony Harrison has written and directed his plays for the National Theatre and abroad, and also created film-poems for TV and cinema: 'I believe that, maybe, poetry, the word at its most eloquent, is one medium which could concentrate our attention on our worst experiences without leaving us with the feeling, as other media can, that life in this century has had its affirmative spirit burnt out.' Recently the London Review of Books published Polygons. This is a rare chance to hear him read: carpe diem! £10

8pm Bernard O'Donoghue & Tom Paulin, with Irish traditional singer Mick Henry and guitarist Nick Hooper.  Back by request, traditional Irish singing and music, with recent poems by Bernard O'Donoghue and readings by Tom Paulin. Woodstock Social Club: drinks are available at the bar. £8

All readings except the final event are held upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall
Festival ticket giving entry to all events - £50. Children & students half price
Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events
Tickets and information: 01993 812760

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Tom Drury

Have you come across Tom Drury yet? The End of Vandalism was one of my favourite books this year, and now the excellent Old Street publishers have produced Pacific, the third of the Grouse County books - can't wait to read it. See an interesting article about Drury here.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Don Paterson & Sarah Howe on TS Eliot Prize shortlist

The short list for this year’s TS Eliot Prize has just been announced, and two of the poets reading at this year's Woodstock Poetry Festival are among those chosen – Don Paterson and Sarah Howe. Judges were Kei Miller (also reading, with Don Paterson, on Friday 13 November), Ahren Warner and Pascale Petit (chair). 

Here is the full short list:

Tracey Herd, Not in this World
Selima Hill, Jutland
Rebecca Perry, Beauty/Beauty – all published by Bloodaxe
Tim Liardet, The World Before Snow
Les Murray, Waiting for the Past – both published by Carcanet
Mark Doty, Deep Lane (Cape)
Sarah Howe, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus)
Sean O’Brien, The Beautiful Librarians (Picador)
Don Paterson, 40 Sonnets (Faber)
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Penguin)

Pascale Petit is chair of the judges, with Kei Miller and Ahren Warner. 

Prize readings take place in London on 10 January – an extraordinary event, usually packed, in the Festival Hall.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Downloading books

'So MANY books... I'd just like to be able to download them straight in to my head,' - Saturday afternoon customer, to her husband on leaving the shop (she didn't buy any books).

Friday, 16 October 2015

Margaret Macmillan's talk postponed till February 2016

Professor Margaret Macmillan's talk about her forthcoming book, History's People: Personalities and the Past, has been postponed because the book publication has been delayed until February 2016. She will now be giving a talk in Woodstock Methodist Church on Tuesday 23 February 2016 at 7pm.

Margaret MacMillan

Professor Macmillan, Master of St Antony's College Oxford is a leading interpreter of the First World War (The War That Ended Peace) and also author of The Uses and Abuses of History: 'If there are common themes in my research and writing they are, first, international relations as encounters between peoples as much as between governments and leaders and, second, the attempt to find the balance between the great forces in history, whether social, economic or ideological, and the individuals who, at key moments, can play a part in shaping events.'