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.
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.
WOODSTOCK POETRY FESTIVAL
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.
Thursday, 26 April 2018
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
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!