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.