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.

The bookshop started and runs Woodstock Poetry Festival, a completely independent festival that has now been running for 8 years.

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

Twitter: @WoodstockBooks

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Phone problems

I apologise if you have tried to ring the bookshop recently. We have problems with our phone line and the only way to contact us at the moment is by email: info@woodstockbookshop.co.uk. We will not have our phone line back till the second week of July but everything else is working and we are able to order books for you. We are also in the bookshop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons between 2 and 4 pm if you prefer to talk to us in person rather than email.

Monday, 16 March 2020

We are now able to take orders!

This week I have started going in to the bookshop on Monday Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2-4 pm to answer the phone and take orders and queries. I am once again able to order books, although delivery is slower than usual. If there is anything you would like, do email any time or ring between the times above. I will ring or email once the book arrives and arrange payment and delivery or collection. I am happy to deliver in and around Woodstock, and today delivered a couple of parcels to Wootton stores for people in the village to collect.
New titles are beginning to appear in the shop - there is a new Anne Tyler, for example! And Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, which is sadly very topical.

Many thanks for your friendship and support, and I look forward to seeing you in the not too distant future.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Anne Stevenson

I meant to post this before - we had the most wonderful evening on 5th March with Anne Stevenson, who read for an hour and a quarter from Completing the Circle, her recent Bloodaxe collection, and then took questions from the audience. She started, appropriately, with How Poems Arrive:

You say them as your undertongue declares,
Then let them knock about your upper mind
Until the shape of what they mean appears.

Like love, they're stongest when admitted blind,
Judging by feel, feeling with sharpened sense
While yet their need to be is undefined.

This is just the first couple of stanzas but she read it all. She then read Anaesthesia and At 85, the two poems that frame the collection. Both are sonnets - 'I've always found it satisfactory to play the game of the sonnet' - and ruminations on age and loss, very spare and beautiful -

this, from Anaesthesia:

They slip away who never said goodbye,
My vintage friends so long depended on
To warm deep levels of my memory.
And if I cared for them, care has to learn
How to grieve sparingly and not to cry.

I wish I could quote the whole sonnet, it is so clear and deceptively simple. Read it!

The collection opens with the revision of an earlier poem, Saying the World - 'that's a poem I've revised and revised - I like the revision this time... I've always revised poems whether published or not.' Before reading it to us she read Elizabeth Bishop's One Art, a villanelle: 'I took the rhythm of it and did something else - there are two things to say about the last stanza. She obviously cared very much that she would lose the person she was writing about - and losing is very painful and you have to master it and get through.'

She then read Completing the Circle - 'an abstract poem, more abstract than I'm used to writing. That was an important poem to me'. And Choose to be a Rainbow - 'why be dust? Why not be water?' - and talked about her love of verses, as distinct from poetry. Verses being lighter, humorous, full of play but nonetheless often serious. She writes verses for Christmas cards and birthdays, and there is one in the collection for her dentist. She talked humorously about Dover Beach Reconsidered, and how the poem had always bothered her - 'Well, tides come and go, they don't just stay out! The tide comes in again, and so in history...'

Of Poetry and Wine came next, verses for her sons, then Now We Are 80, a long poem written for Fleur Adcock - 'I like that last line, "Why we aren't wickedly what once we were".' Then Candles, which she introduced by saying, 'Let me read a short poem that I like very much. I wrote 20 or 30 drafts... candles, the soul going up and the body disappearing.'

She finished with some long, autobiographical poems - The Gift Bowl, Pronunciation and I think she also read Sandi Russell Sings. As you will realise if you buy Completing the Circle, she read most of the book to us that evening and it was a huge privilege to hear her. She is still writing, though she started by saying 'Once you get to be 80 you feel that maybe you can give it a rest.' She is 87 now and I don't think she will give it a rest.

Temporary Closure from Monday 16 March 2020

I have decided very sadly to shut the bookshop from tomorrow because of the increasing danger to staff and customers from the corona virus. Many of our customers are elderly, and we would not like to be responsible for spreading the virus in the community. I will be in the shop during the day to receive books already ordered by customers and will be happy to deliver them or give them to you if you call in for them. Also, if you would like any books to keep you company during the next few weeks or month, tomorrow is the time to come and collect them.
I am very sad about having to take this decision. Hopefully we can reopen as soon as it becomes safe for everyone. In the meantime please take care of yourselves. Very best wishes from me and the rest of the staff here -

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Christmas and New Year opening hours

We will be open as normal throughout the holiday apart from

Christmas Day Day
Boxing Day
New Year's Day

when we will be shut. We will close at 4.30pm on 24th December.

We wish you all a very happy Christmas and 2020.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Patrick Gale & David Constantine

On Saturday 21 September at 7pm Patrick Gale and David Constantine will be reading from and discussing their stories from Refugee Tales III upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall. All profits from the evening will go to Refugee Resource in Oxford. The book is the third in a series from Comma Press sharing the stories of people who have been detained while seeking asylum in Britain. The UK is the only country in Europe that detains people indefinitely under immigration rules and the stories give some of those people a voice. Other writers featuring in this volume are Monica Ali, Ian Sansom, Gillian Slovo and Roma Tearne.
Poet and translator David Constantine is also launching his new short story collection, The Dressing-Up Box. His previous collection, Tea at the Midland, won the Frank O'Connor short story award and the title story won the BBC Short Story Award. The film 45 Years was based on his story In Another Country. He has recently translated Brecht's poems.
Patrick Gale's latest novel Take Nothing with You came out last year.
Tickets £8 from The Woodstock Bookshop.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

8th Woodstock Poetry Festival 15-17 November 2019

Friday 15 November
7pm Hugo Williams reads from Lines Off, his first collection since 2014, written following transplant surgery - 'haunting, shining, untidy poems... vivid with emotion and experience' (Fiona Sampson, Spectator); 'Williams has a gift for making poetry read as effortlessly as conversation – a huge accomplishment' (Kate Kellaway, Guardian). £10
(Wine and sandwiches will be served between this and the following reading and a joint ticket for the evening is available at £15)
8.30pm Kei Miller reads from In Nearby Bushes, his highly anticipated new collection that explores his strangest landscape yet - the placeless place. Here is a world in which it is possible both to hide and to heal, a landscape as much marked by magic as it is by murder. His previous collection won the Forward Prize. £10

Saturday 16 November
5.30pm Niall Campbell & Vidyan Ravinthiram, published by Bloodaxe, are shortlisted for this year's Forward Prize. Both collections start from the domestic – Campbell's Noctuary, a diary for late hours, reflects on fatherhood; The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here began as personal sonnets for Ravinthiran's wife. £10

7pm Patrick McGuinness & Giorgia Sensi, poetry in translation. Giorgia Sensi has translated many British poets into Italian, including Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Gillian Clarke and Kathleen Jamie. She and Patrick McGuinness discuss 
Déjà-vu, her parallel-text edition of his past and most recent poems. £8

8.30pm Julia Copus & Jane Clarke: Girlhood ('this phenomenal collection', Kate Kellaway, Observer) exposes the shifting power balance between things on the verge of becoming and the forces that threaten to destroy them. Jane Clarke's second collection with Bloodaxe, When the Tree Falls, bears witness to the rhythms of birth and death, celebration and mourning, endurance and regrowth, £10

Sunday 17 November
2pm Laureate's Choice - Faith Lawrence, followed by Open mic. A chance to hear one of the poets selected by Carol Ann Duffy read from her new pamphlet Sleeping Through. Faith Lawrence is a producer on BBC Radio 3's The Verb.
Open mic is introduced by Jenny Lewis of The Poet's House, Oxford. This popular platform for local and unpublished poets is open to all but should be booked in advance. £6

4.30pm Hannah Sullivan & Mary Jean Chan. Mary Jean Chan's first collection Fleche has just been published by Faber: 'Sparkling and vulnerable... the arrival of an essential new voice' – Sarah Howe. Hannah Sullivan was the winner of last year's T.S. Eliot Prize for Three Poems, her first collection: ' A magnificent debut...challenging the parameters of what poetry can do' – Sinead Morrissey. £10

6.30pm Raymond Antrobus reads from The Perseverance, winner of the Ted Hughes award and the Rathbones Folio prize: '...an insightful, frank and intimate rumination on language, identity, heritage, loss and the art of communication. Ranging from tender elegies about his father to frank interrogations of deafness, Antrobus highlights the persistence of memory and our need to connect' - Malika Booker. £10

8.30pm Legendary folk singer and songwriter Peggy Seeger joins poets Bernard O'Donoghue & Tom Paulin with Judith & Nick Hooper (fiddle and guitar) for an evening of music and poetry. Both poets have published many collections with Faber. Tom Paulin is also well known for his appearances on BBC's Newsnight Review, and his readings of the poetry of W.B. Yeats. Bernard O'Donoghue is translating Piers Plowman. This event is held in Woodstock Social Club; drinks are available from the bar. £10

Tickets and information: 01993 812760 or info@woodstockbookshop.co.uk
Festival ticket giving entry to all events - £60, children and students half price
Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events
Friday's readings are held in St Mary Magdalene Church
Saturday & Sunday readings take place upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall