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.

are both suspended during the pandemic. We hope to start again as soon as it is safe to do so.

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, 26 November 2016

The Albion Beatnik Bookshop, Jericho

Woodstock Poetry Festival is over but the Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Walton Street, Jericho, has a year-round programme of poetry readings, jazz and other events. If you haven't already discovered it, have a look  here. How he has the energy to put it all together I don't know - we are feeling pretty wiped out after our three days and he has events year-round!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Woodstock Poetry Festival - looking back

This year's festival has come and gone - so many moments to remember:

Liz Lochhead opening the festival with ebullience and tenderness -

Alice Oswald standing in the darkened church and, in spite of the cold and the hornet in the microphone, delivering her poems steadily and bringing us all together;

Alice Oswald signing books in the church

The session with Vahni Capildeo, Gregory Leadbetter and Yousif Qasmiyeh gave a new outing to See How I Land

Jane Draycott's new book arrived BEFORE publication date and is wonderful -

She read with Penny Boxall (below) and Carrie Etter.

and Lemn Sissay performed poems from Gold from the Stone to an enthusiastic audience in a very chilly church -

Many thanks to everyone - poets and audience - who supported the festival. On to next year!

Friday, 21 October 2016

TS Eliot Prize shortlist

Three of the poets shortlisted for this year's TS Eliot Prize are appearing at Woodstock Poetry Festival - Vahni Capildeo, Alice Oswald and Bernard O'Donoghue.

TS Eliot Shortlist:
Void Studies by Rachael Boast (Picador)
*Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo (Carcanet)
The Blind Road-Maker by Ian Duhig (Picador)
Interference Pattern by JO Morgan (Cape Poetry)
*The Seasons of Cullen Church by Bernard O’Donoghue (Faber)
*Falling Awake by Alice Oswald (Cape Poetry)
Jackself by Jacob Polley (Picador)
Say Something Back by Denise Riley (Picador)
Every Little Sound by Ruby Robinson (Liverpool University Press)
The Remedies by Katharine Towers (Picador)

Full details of the shortlisted poets here

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Woodstock Poetry Festival 2016 - 11-13 November - programme

Here's the programme for this year's festival!

Friday to Sunday 11 - 13 November 2016

Friday 11 November
*6.30pm Liz Lochhead, former Makar of Scotland, reads from Fugitive Colours. £10

*8.30pm Alice Oswald reads from Falling Awake and recent work. £10
(wine and sandwiches served between these readings)

Saturday 12 November
11am – Free children’s event: John Foster ‘The Dinosaur Rap’, reading & activities with puppets in Woodstock Library for children aged 3-11. Tickets from the library.
1pm Oxford Stanza 2 – welcome return of this group of local poets. £5
2.30pm Jenny Lewis leads an open mic session. £5
4pm See How I Land. Anthology edited by Carole Angier seven years ago, bringing together Oxford poets and exiled writers. Several contributors join us today, including Yousif Qasmiyeh, Palestinian poet and translator; Gregory Leadbetter (whose first full collection The Fetch has just been published by Nine Arches Press); Nigerian poet Afam Akeh, founding editor of African Writing, and Vahni Capildeo, whose Measures of Expatriation won this year’s Forward Prize. £8, includes a copy of See How I Land.

Vahni Capildeo

6pm Gillian Clarke, formerly National Poet of Wales, reads from her recently published Selected Poems and from her forthcoming book, Zoology. £8

*8.30pm Lemn Sissay, Chancellor of Manchester University and official poet of the 2012 Olympics, reading from his recent collection, Gold from the Stone. £10

Sunday 13 November
2.30pm Deryn Rees-Jones & Jamie McKendrick have both recently published their Selected Poems. Jamie McKendrick is a distinguished poet and translator from the Italian and ‘among the most interesting, surprising and distinctive poets of his generation’ (Sean O’Brien). 

Deryn’s previous work Burying the Wren was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and she is Professor of Poetry at the University of Liverpool. £8

4pm Oxford Stanza – readings by members of this long-established Oxford-based group including Simon Altmann, Caroline Ashley, John Elinger, Paulette Mae, David Olsen and Andrew Smardon. £5
6pm Carrie Etter, Penny Boxall & Jane Draycott. Penny Boxall recently won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for her first collection, Ship of the Line; For a recent interview with Penny see here.

Carrie Etter, an American poet living in England, is Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and has published three collections of poetry, most recently Imagined Sons

Jane Draycott’s previous collection, Over, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. She teaches at Oxford and Lancaster and last appeared at the festival with her remarkable translation of Pearl. She will read from her latest book, The Occupant. £8

8.30pm Bernard O’Donoghue & Tom Paulin, with singer Mick Henry and guitarist Nick Hooper. Traditional Irish singing and music, with poems by Bernard O’Donoghue, including recent ones from The Seasons of Cullen Church, and readings of Yeats and his own work by Tom Paulin. Woodstock Social Club - drinks available at the bar. £8

Tickets and information: 01993 812760
Festival ticket giving entry to all events - £60
Children & students half price
Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events
Most readings are held upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall
Events marked * are held in St Mary Magdalene Church

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Jay Ramsay's reading 2nd November has been postponed

Jay Ramsay's reading from Diamond Cutters has been postponed due to ill health. He plans to read here next year. Diamond Cutters is an anthology of Visionary Poetry, co-edited with Andrew Harvey, from the early 20th century with Kathleen Raine and David Gascoyne through to contemporary poets in the early 21st century in Britain, America and Australia. Poets include William Stafford, Robert Bly, Jeni Couzyn, Dorothy Walters, Gabriel Bradford Millar and Irina Kuzminsky.

Poetry editor of Caduceus magazine (since 2002), Jay Ramsay's latest individual collection is Monuments (Waterloo Press, 2014). Diamond Cutters is his sixth anthology of contemporary poetry. He is the author of more than 30 books, poetry, non fiction and Chinese classic translation (with Martin Palmer). He is also a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist in private practice.

Tickets £5; book in advance from info@woodstockbookshop.co.uk or 01993 812760

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Bernard O'Donoghue

On Thursday 14 July at 7pm in Woodstock Town Hall Bernard O'Donoghue came to read from his new poetry collection, The Seasons of Cullen Church -

Bernard is one of our finest poets, with ‘a unique gift for honouring the moments other poets overlook’ – Paul Batchelor, Guardian

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Mr Darley's Arabian

Chris McGrath giving a speech this week at the launch celebration in Woodstock Town Hall for Mr Darley's Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life - A History of Racing in Twenty-Five Horses.

I didn't think I was interested in horses yet I love this book because it is about so much more than horses - and it is so very well written. It's the story of a bloodline from 1704, the year Thomas Darley sent a colt bought from Bedouin tribesmen near Palmyra by sea back to England. Frankel, the greatest modern racehorse, is descended from this horse as are 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today.

Mr Darley's Arabian is already gathering glowing reviews - see http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/how-racing-finally-became-respectable/

Monday, 23 May 2016

Adam Sisman talk cancelled

We have had to cancel this talk by Adam Sisman about John le Carre which should have taken place on Tuesday 24th May - I am very sorry if you were intending to come along...

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Adam Sisman discusses his life of John le Carre

This month our talk is by Adam Sisman who will discuss his recent biography of John le CarrĂ© in Woodstock Methodist Church on Tuesday 24 May at 7pm. Tickets £5 redeemable against a copy of the book, which means you can get the new paperback for only £5!
Advance booking essential from the bookshop 01993 812760 or info@woodstockbookshop.co.uk
Ultimately it's about love ... this is a very emotional book. John le Carre had an utterly heartbreaking childhood ... This is the best biography of 2015 - a rare achievement that invites rereading -- Edward Wilson, Independent
Here are a selection of the universally amazing reviews for the book which was shortlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography 2016 in the US:
Compendious and compelling...Sisman is excellent at the nuts and bolts of writing and of being published...it must be difficult to write the life of a man who is still very much with us, and in the public eye, no matter how much liberty the biographer has been given to tell the story, warts and all. Sisman - a very fine and astute biographer - has done an excellent, not to say exemplary, job under the circumstances ... it is impossible to imagine this Life being bettered -- William Boyd, New Statesman
This is the way to do it. Why this admirably balanced, patiently detailed biography of John le Carre is not on the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction shortlist beats me ... Sisman does full justice to [the] rawness at the heart of le Carre -- David Sexton, Evening Standard
The spy novelist's life is explored and explained with immaculate care and attention to detail Sunday Times
This book is testament to Sisman's skill and perseverance ... With his excellent grasp of the wider history, Sisman is good at anchoring Cornwell in this shadowy environment, as he guides his readers through the models for various characters ... Sisman brings admirable clarity to what could have been a meander in a wilderness of mirrors -- Andrew Lycett, Spectator
Cornwell has admitted that he can no longer separate many of the facts of his life from his lies and fictions. For Sisman this is like a red rag to a bull and you can feel the thrill of the chase throughout his terrific John le Carre, Independent
Sisman pulls it off: this is a well-written and highly readable book which is neither hagiography nor hatchet job ... Within that world he [John le Carre] conveys some of the truths of human nature, endeavour and fallibility. This is a real and rare achievement and in Adam Sisman he has a biographer worthy of it -- Alan Judd, Times Literary Supplement

Absorbing ... An insightful and highly readable portrait of a writer and a man who has often been classified as elusive and enigmatic as his fictional heroes -- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Saturday, 30 April 2016

8 years old today

I opened the shop eight years ago today - it was a sunny bank holiday Saturday and many people from the town came in. They threw their arms open as they walked in and said, 'Welcome to Woodstock!' and by the end of the day we had a list of customer orders and it felt as if the shop had always been here.

A huge thank you to all the customers, publishers and writers who have supported the shop over the years. The writers have been many - see the list of speakers to the right. And the customers, too, have been many and very loyal. Several have become friends. There has even been a wedding.

Finally, thank you to the people who work here with me, who all do far more than you should.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Margaret Macmillan - History's People

Image result for professor Margaret MacMillan

Margaret Macmillan, Warden of St Antony's College, Oxford, is talking at Woodstock Methodist Church on Tuesday 23 February at 7pm about her latest book, History's People: Personalities and the Past. Tickets £5

'History's People is as entertaining and illuminating a work of popular history as one could possibly wish for' - Prospect

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Book groups

We have two book groups at the shop - a group that discusses nothing but poetry, and one that has occasionally discussed poetry but usually reads fiction. And it seems social connections such as book groups are every bit as good for you and as important to your well being in later life as exercise. Of course - who would doubt it?

The shop book groups are different from most of the book groups I hear about because the members didn't know each other before joining, and we discuss the books rather than each other. That is a generalisation - not all book groups discuss each other. But we really do spend an hour discussing the books - and, in the poetry group, the discussion lasts an hour and a half and I usually have to bring it to an end so everyone can go off and have their supper or they might go on all evening.

The poetry group has been reading a book from the T S Eliot short list each month. So far we have read 40 Sonnets, Citizen, Loop of Jade and Waiting for the Past. We have settled into a pattern of reading aloud the poems we would like to discuss for whatever reason - perhaps we didn't understand it, perhaps we simply loved the sound of it or the ideas it explores. And people share their thoughts and readings and somehow you end the evening feeling you have developed a deeper appreciation of the poet and their work.

There is less reading aloud in the other group, and often more difference of opinion which makes for interesting discussions. It is all very enjoyable and now that I know it's also as good as exercise for my general well being I feel even better about the groups!

Do pop in if you would like to join either group...

Monday, 1 February 2016

This shop smells like the bookshops of my childhood...

Two women have just in walked in and that is what one said to the other. A nice thing to hear.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Sarah Howe won the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry

Loop of Jade is the first debut collection to win the award - hugely well deserved, give it to everyone who likes poetry...

Image result for sarah howe loop of jade

Monday, 4 January 2016

Kathleen Jamie reading on the radio yesterday!

I was driving in to Oxford yesterday afternoon and suddenly heard a very familiar voice - Kathleen Jamie reading from The Bonniest Companie, her latest collection and the one she read from when she came to Woodstock Poetry Festival in November. You can find it here. Do listen, she reads wonderfully.

Happy New Year and many thanks for making the poetry festival such a success and this year - our eighth - our most successful so far by a long way...