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, 21 October 2017

Animals in the shop

Just had the sweetest child in the shop who rearranged all the animals (and many of the books)

TS Eliot Prize Shortlist 2017

The 2017 TS Eliot prize shortlist

(Poets marked with an asterisk are appearing at Woodstock Poetry Festival)

The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx, Tara Bergin (Carcanet)

*In these Days of Prohibition, Caroline Bird (Carcanet)

*The Noise of a Fly, Douglas Dunn (Faber & Faber)

The Radio, Leontia Flynn (Cape Poetry)

So Glad I’m Me, Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe)

Mancunia, Michael Symmons Roberts (Cape Poetry)

Diary of the Last Man, Robert Minhinnick (Carcanet)

The Abandoned Settlements, James Sheard (Cape Poetry)

*All My Mad Mothers, Jacqueline Saphra (Nine Arches Press)

Night Sky With Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong (Cape Poetry)

For more information see here

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bookshop Day

The best customers

Monday, 4 September 2017

6th Woodstock Poetry Festival 10-12 November 2017

Booking is now open for the festival - it is advisable to book early for all events particularly those in the Town Hall as numbers are limited. The flyers have been published and are available in the bookshop:

Friday to Sunday 10-12 November 2017

Friday 10 November
7.30 pm Douglas Dunn & Jim Carruth. £10
The Noise of a Fly is Douglas Dunn's first collection since The Year's Afternoon (2000). He was awarded the Queen's gold medal for poetry in 2013. 'It is hard to think of many poets who can equal his combination of imaginative ambition, formal resource and range of tone' – Sean O'Brien; 'The most respected Scottish poet of his generation' – Nicholas Wroe. Jim Carruth was appointed the poet laureate of Glasgow in July 2014. His most recent collection is Black Cart, published this year. 'Many of these narratives make the reader think of Robert Frost: there is no higher praise for the modern pastoral' – Bernard O'Donoghue

Saturday 11 November
11.15 am – Free children's event, Woodstock Library. Richard O'Brien reads from The Noisy Classroom – poems about school aimed at children aged 7+. Tickets from the library, advance booking essential

2.30 pm The Emma Press & Nine Arches Press. £8
Two of the best independent publishers of poetry discuss their work and introduce some of their poets: Jane Commane, founder of Nine Arches Press, is joined by Rishi Dastidar & Jacqueline Saphra, with Emma Wright, Andrew Wynn Owen and Rachel Piercey.

4.30pm Anne Stevenson. £10
Highly acclaimed Anglo-American poet, critic and biographer who has lived most of her life in Britain. Her Poems 1955-2005 are published by Bloodaxe and In the Orchard, her most recent collection, by Enitharmon: '...a contemporary Emily Dickinson, a poet who works on a small canvas, quietly, with big themes' – Jay Parini; 'She is wise without portentousness, her technique faultless and her imagination fiery, political and fresh' – Carol Rumens, Independent

6pm George Szirtes & David Harsent. £10
George Szirtes, distinguished translator and poet, came here from Hungary as a refugee at the age of eight. Reel won the 2004 T.S.Eliot prize – 'a brilliantly virtuosic collection of deeply felt poems concerned with the personal impact of the dislocations and betrayals of history' – Douglas Dunn. His most recent collections are How to be a Tiger, for children, and Mapping the Delta (Bloodaxe).
David Harsent is reading from his latest book, Salt (Faber). His previous collection Firesongs won the 2014 T.S.Eliot Prize. He has worked with composer Harrison Birtwistle on many opera collaborations. 'It is hard to think of any poet working in this country today who is so demanding, both of himself and of the reader; harder still to think of one who is as morally and imaginatively rewarding' - John Burnside

Sunday 12 November
2.30 pm Pamphlets and open mic. £5
Jenny Lewis, of The Poets House, Oxford introduces three new pamphlets by Adnan al-Sayegh, Sarah Watkinson and Gina Wilson followed by an open mic - please book ahead if you would like to participate.

4.30pm Caroline Bird & Keith Jarrett. £8
A great performer on page and stage, playwright and poet Caroline Bird introduces her fifth Carcanet collection, In These Days of Prohibition: '...irrepressible; she simply explodes with poetry' - Simon Armitage. Keith Jarrett, former London and UK Poetry Slam! Champion, published his first collection Selah with Burning Eye Books this year. Regular Woodstock Festival goers who heard him at the StAnza festival were so impressed they begged us to book him. No higher recommendation!

6.30pm Four Quartets – Woodstock Methodist Church. £10 
T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets with Ashley Ramsden and Flora Pethybridge - a beautiful and revelatory tandem telling of Eliot's masterpiece.

8.30pm Peggy Seeger, Bernard O'Donoghue & DellyWellyBoot Band. £10
Peggy Seeger, legendary singer and songmaker, joins us in Woodstock Social Club on the publication of her new memoir First Time Ever. Nick Hooper, guitar, Susanna Starling, bass, and Judith Hooper, fiddle, play and sing an eclectic mix of traditional and self-penned music. Bernard O'Donoghue reads from recent work.

Tickets and information: 01993 812760.
Festival ticket giving entry to all events - £50, children and students half price
Tea and cakes are included in the price of all afternoon events
Readings are held upstairs in Woodstock Town Hall unless indicated

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Mini Grey here on 24 June!

Author and illustrator Mini Grey will be at The Woodstock Bookshop to chat to customers and sign copies of her books between 11 and 12 this Saturday morning (24 June).


Saturday is the first day of Independent Booksellers' Week and the inaugural Oxfordshire BookCrawl, a journey round seven Oxfordshire independent bookshops.

Participating shops are:

The Woodstock Bookshop
The Wallingford Bookshop
Mostly Books, Abingdon
Jaffe & Neale, Chipping Norton
Coles Books, Bicester
Books and Ink (Banbury)
The Bell Bookshop (Henley)

What better way to see the county than by going from bookshop to bookshop? There is information about each shop on the website - we are offering 10% discount off all books for the day, and a free proof with every purchase.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Nancy Sandars - a celebration of her life and poems

Nancy Sandars was an extraordinary and very distinguished archaeologist who spent many of her 101 years living with her older sister Betty in the Manor House at Little Tew, where she was born in 1914. She worked in intelligence operations during the war and afterwards studied archaeology specialising in prehistory. There is a fascinating website with details of her life and work.

She published several archaeological works during her lifetime, as well as a translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh for Penguin Classics and a collection of poems. This year a posthumous collection of poems has been published by Agenda - Evening Primroses - for which John Fuller has written a Preface. On 26 June at 8pm in Woodstock Town Hall he will be reading from her poems and leading tributes to her life and work. Entry is free - wine will be served. Please contact the bookshop if you would like to attend.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Sarah Winman at The Woodstock Bookshop

Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit, A Year of Marvellous Ways and the forthcoming Tin Man, dropped in to the bookshop, lightening this rainy afternoon with her smile and her friendliness. We discussed events, and she said that she is of the view that so long as there is an equal number of performers to audience the show goes on - so refreshing, when very often I am asked to guarantee over a hundred people per talk or quizzed on how many books we sell at our talks. Read her books - a tonic for these times.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Explorer - Katherine Rundell

Media of The Explore

We are so lucky to be alive while Katherine Rundell is bringing out her extraordinary children's books. I lay in bed till past midnight last night reading The Explorer. I saved the final few pages till this morning, not wanting the book to end. It is the best children's book I have read since Rooftoppers, and so beautifully written and confident. You feel in very safe hands - this is the work of a writer who knows her craft and who draws you so strongly into her world you can hardly bear to leave but want to start reading all over again. It is not just a 'message' book, but it does have a very strong message - to pay attention to the world and to the people we meet, because attention is life and love. To be brave because we all can do so much more than we think. To face our fears and overcome them. She is totally unafraid of dealing with problems and never talks down to her audience. I look forward to many more unexpected and wonderful novels by Katherine Rundell.

The Explorer comes out in August. (Slightly odd date to publish a major children's book, when many children and parents are away. Perhaps Bloomsbury are banking on parents holidaying in England this year because of the exchange rate.)  

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Independent Bookshop of the Year 2017 - Final

The following bookshops have made it to the final of Independent Bookshop of the Year this year. 

The Chorleywood Bookshop, Chorleywood
Kenilworth Books, Kenilworth
Forum Books, Corbridge
Sarum College Bookshop, Salisbury
Lindum Books, Lincoln
Far From the Madding Crowd, Linlithgow
Tales on Moon Lane, London
Gutter Bookshop, Dublin and Dalkey

Have you been to any of them? I haven't yet but plan to - perhaps a short tour is in order! There is little I enjoy more than looking round other bookshops and seeing how differently they are laid out. 

I was interested to read something recently saying how very hip and retro independent bookshops are now - by doing the same thing for years and years one eventually becomes fashionable again. Everything is all about curating, it seems. I thought I was just running a bookshop...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Woodstock Poetry Festival 2017 - 10-12 November

The programme for this year's Woodstock Poetry Festival is almost finalised - poets who have agreed to come so far include:

Douglas Dunn, who is reading from The Noise of a Fly, his first collection since the publication of Elegies
George Szirtes
Jim Carruth
Anne Stevenson
Caroline Bird
Keith Jarrett
David Harsent

One or two people have yet to confirm.

It is wonderful that such brilliant poets are happy to support an independent bookshop by participating in our festival and we are very grateful to them.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Choosing books

It is worrying how few parents let their children choose a book. Have parents always been so very controlling? There was a mother in the shop with two small children - a girl and a boy aged about four and six. He was desperate to spend his World Book Day voucher on the Where's Wally book; the little girl clutched Peppa Pig to her tummy. Both children were very upset.
'Mummy, I really love this one.'
'You're too old for Peppa Pig. We've come to choose a reading book.'
A reading book.
It reeks of school, of those reading records where the adult notes the pages a child has read, where reading is something that is marked and assessed but very seldom enjoyed.
It ended better than I thought it might. The children were very well behaved. They were steered away from the books that were no good for them, towards books the mother liked. They left the shop with a little bag each,
I almost cried. The WBD books are free, the vouchers are given to the children not the parents. The idea is that children learn to choose for themselves. Pick the books up, turn them over, flick through them, read them a little. You know, the sort of thing you do when you buy a book. But hardly any of the children who come in with their parents are allowed to have that experience. Everything is monitored. It's surprising we are not raising a race of rebellious lunatics. Perhaps we are!
I think I'm a bit disgruntled because someone just bought the last copy of Grief Works, Julia Samuel's very good new book, and I was reading it between customers.
There is another child in here now, whose mother is discussing the books with her and letting the child really choose. And she does: a Katie Morag book. Her teacher had told them all about Katie Morag, about how the stories are set on a real island. She told her parents all about it. I feel a lot better.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Shortlisted for Independent Bookshop of the Year!

The Woodstock Bookshop has been shortlisted for the third time for this award - such an honour to be on the list. It seems there are only 894 independent bookshops left in the country. No wonder so many people come in and say, 'Ah, a bookshop!' as if they were encountering a snuff shop or something equally antiquated.

There is nothing antiquated about us or any of the other shops on the shortlist - for the full account of the prize and the shortlisted shops see here. It is an honour to be in such company. I have been to many of the shops on the list and they are so good - the LRB bookshop is a particular favourite of mine, I go every time I am in London and envy their space and eat their cakes. My best sort of holiday would be a bookshop crawl.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Upcoming tour by leading Danish poet Pia Tafdrup

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre (http://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/) is delighted and honoured to coordinate a short tour by internationally-acclaimed Danish poet Pia Tafdrup. The tour, entitled Walking over the Water, is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, and also by the University of Reading and Roehampton Poetry Centre. Pia will visit Reading, Ledbury, and Oxford during her tour, and at each stop will read or be in discussion with a celebrated British poet: Peter Robinson in Reading, Fiona Sampson in Ledbury, and T.S. Eliot Prize-winning Philip Gross in Oxford.

Pia Tafdrup, one of Scandinavia's best-known poets, was born in Copenhagen in 1952. She is a member of the Danish Academy, and has published 17 collections of poetry, two novels, and two plays. Pia received the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 1999 and the Nordic Prize in 2006 from The Swedish Academy. Her most recent poetry collections translated into English are Queen's Gate (Bloodaxe, 2001), Tarkovsky's Horses & Other Poems (Bloodaxe, 2010) and Salamander Sun & Other Poems (Bloodaxe, 2015). Her latest books published in Denmark are entitled The Taste of Steel and The Smell of Snow.

Pia was the subject of a 2003 documentary film about her work, Thousandborn, directed by Cæcilia Holbek Trier, and she has read from her work in more than 40 countries. She represented Denmark at Poetry Parnassus, the festival of readings, performance and debate that took place during the London 2012 Festival.

Full schedule and ticket details

Wednesday 15 February, Pia Tafdrup reads with Peter Robinson
University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus, HumSS 127
from 6pm; free
More details: peterrobinso@gmail.com

Thursday 16 February, Pia Tafdrup in conversation with Fiona Sampson
The Panelled Room, The Master’s House, Ledbury, HR8 1EA
7-9pm, £5 (on the door)
More details:  http://www.poetry-festival.co.uk

Friday 17 February, Pia Tafdrup reads with Philip Gross
Large Senior Common Room, Oriel College, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4EW
7-8.15pm, £5
To book a ticket, please visit the Brookes Shop: http://shop.brookes.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/faculty-of-humanities-social-sciences/events/pia-tafdrup-and-philip-gross-poetry-reading

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year!

January is getting off to an excellent start. We have some dedicated customers - and Alice Oswald has just won the Costa Poetry Prize!

A very happy new year to you all - thank you for buying your books here and keeping The Woodstock Bookshop alive and well into its ninth year