Essential reading for anyone feeling full of despair in these difficult times, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman’s fresh take on human nature is heartening and optimistic.
From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, in religion, fiction, science, psychology and sociology, we have been taught that human beings are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. In ‘Humankind’, Rutger Bregman makes a revolutionary new argument: People are essentially GOOD, and their actions naturally tend towards kindness and altruism.
Chapter by chapter, going back through 200,000 years of human history, Bregman re-evaluates and re-examines some of the most famously pessimistic events and case-studies; from the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram’s Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiments, he finds persuasive new evidence for humanity’s essential decency. If we begin to believe in fundamental human kindness and altruism, we may be able to achieve true change in society.
An exciting new standalone fantasy adventure from the inventive imagination of Vashti Hardy, author of ‘Brightstorm’ and Wildspark’ and one of our FAVOURITE local authors, who is just going from strength to strength!
Orin Crowfall lives on the island of Ironhold, an orderly island committed to industry, with a strict hierarchical structure, where everyone knows their place. Ironholders pride themselves in their taming and harnessing of nature, reflected in their motto “industry brings prosperity”. Sensitive Orin is employed as a server to the elite Engineers, the rulers of Ironhold, but his first love is nature – he has a talent for nurturing plants, and he has made an incredible discovery – at the very heart of Ironhold is a living, natural being – the Eard – which nourishes and provides for the Island. When Orin uncovers a dark secret about the Engineers relationship with the Eard, both his life and the future of Ironhold are in grave danger, and he must flee for his life!
Orin and his animatronic robot friend Cody escape Ironhold on a small boat, but are pursued by a terrifying sea monster and buffeted by tremendous storms until they find themselves washed up on the shores of an incredible new island world …The island of Natura seems like a paradise, but who can Orin trust, and how will he return to Ironhold and save his family before everything is destroyed?
A really enjoyable story, full of excitement, with plucky, lovable characters, and Vashti Hardy’s characteristic gift for incredible world-building, ‘Crowfall’ is also a powerful environmental fable with a thought-provoking message about ecological balance.
Sarah Moss is a writer of rare accomplishment whose mastery of the messy complexities of the interior monologue is pitch-perfect. ‘Summerwater’ is an intense, beautifully-written, and devastating story, set over a 24-hour period in a faded Scottish cabin park.
As the rain hammers down outside, in short vignettes we are introduced to the inhabitants of the holiday cabins; a woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a teenage boy chances the dark waters of the loch in his kayak; a retired couple head out despite the downpour, driving too fast on the familiar bends…. Nobody has any phone signal, and the world feels very far away, leading to a claustrophobic sense of dread… we know something bad is going to happen, but to whom.. and when?
There are tender moments – Moss is an astute observer of family life and domestic tensions, there is acerbic humour, there are moments of limpid beauty in her observations of nature, and bubbling throughout, the tensions between this group of strangers simmer and then boil over…. No more spoilers – you HAVE TO read it!
When Isobel Petty is orphaned, she finds herself being taken away from her home in India and sent to live with a distant uncle in England. On board the S.S. Marianna, she witnesses a shocking act – somebody being thrown overboard in the middle in the night. But when the ship’s captain insists that nobody is missing, Isobel and her two new reluctant friends must solve two mysteries – the identities of both the murderer and the victim – before they reach England and the culprit has the chance to escape.
Isobel is a brilliantly created unlikeable heroine, victim of a childhood both indulged and ignored, who gradually has her sharp corners knocked off by the two long suffering friends she has met on the voyage, and by the life lessons that she learns along the way. Inspired by The Secret Garden and the golden age of crime writing, The Secret Detectives is perfect for fans of Robin Stevens and Katherine Rundell. For children aged 9 upwards who like historical fiction and a good long read with plenty of mystery and humour.
A real gem! Lissa Evan is a supremely gifted writer – astute, funny and warm – for both children and adults. We loved her comedic novel, ‘Crooked Heart’, which introduced Vee, a suburban con-woman, and ultrabright orphan Noel as they joined forces in the unlikely setting of Hampstead village during the second World War. Following on, ‘Old Baggage’ told the tale of Noel’s Suffragist godmother Mattie, and now we are back with Vee and Noel towards the end of the war when, unsurprisingly, their lives become even more complicated….
It’s late 1944. Hitler’s rockets are slamming down on London with vicious regularity and it’s the coldest winter in living memory. Allied victory is on its way, but it’s bloody well dragging its feet.
In a large house next to Hampstead Heath, Vee Sedge is just about scraping by, with a herd of lodgers to feed, and her young charge Noel ( almost fifteen ) to clothe and educate. When she witnesses a road accident and finds herself in court, the repercussions are both unexpectedly marvellous and potentially disastrous – disastrous because Vee is not actually the person she’s pretending to be, and neither is Noel.
A nail-bitingly thrilling survival drama for readers of 8-12 years by the author of ‘The Boy in the Tower’.
Rule Number 1: Always be Prepared…. Billy’s mum isn’t like the other mums. She’s a scientist, for starters, and takes Billy out of school to train him in the Rules of Survival. But after her obsession goes too far, Billy is sent to Bristol, to live with a dad he barely knows.
Billy settles in well and even makes his first ever friends, but his new, life is rudely interrupted by a strange and terrifying phenomenon … is it a virus? An alien shape-shifting life form? People are turning into strange, scary grey creatures and chaos is breaking out. Billy, his dad, and his new friends have to flee the city. Billy realises that THIS is what his mum was preparing him for. Can Billy reach his mum’s ‘Safe Haven’ in time, and will she even be there? Can he reunite his family … and where are his friends?
Exciting, powerful and emotional; a perfect book for fans of Ross Welford.
One of the best middle-grade fiction novels I have read this year! An exciting science fiction thriller for ages 9+.
In a bleak future world, torn apart by a civil war between humans and advanced A.I robots, some scavenging children come across a cute little robot, locked in a basement. Adam 2 has been locked away for 200 years, and knows nothing of the war between robots and humankind. He has been programmed to faithfully serve humans, and quickly bonds with the children. Soon, by virtue of his human-style loyalty, he is accepted into the human camp.
Adam’s unique position – trusted by the humans, yet essentially an A.I, earns him friends & enemies in both camps, and it becomes clear that he holds the key to the war, and the power to end it – to destroy one side and save the other. But which side is right? Adam must decide who – and what – he really is.
A really thrilling story, full of thought-provoking issues, and Adam 2 is a truly unforgettable and adorable character. Will appeal to fans of Philip Reeve.
It has been a strange old year, beginning with the third lockdown, from January to April, which saw all of our bookshop staff continuing to beaver away, behind closed doors. It is amazing, in hindsight, how busy we remained while the shop was ostensibly ‘shut’ – first and foremost with website orders for signed & name-dedicated Julia Donaldson books – with our heartfelt thanks to Julia Donaldson, who spent every evening (apart from Sundays. We gave her a break on Sundays) inscribing names on books! Then there were phone and email orders from our dear, loyal customers, which were, as ever, a fun challenge, not to mention trying to make World Book Day a thing, while shut – we eventually put the World Book Day books out on our porch for children to help themselves! We are very grateful, too, to the local schools who kept us busy with orders and topic lists – Gudrun enjoyed the challenge of selecting a huge order of books based on their ‘Accelerated Reader’ level!
March saw us experimenting with more ‘Virtual Events’ – a lively discussion on Zoom with local thriller writers Elly Griffiths and William Shaw was well-attended, and then our book group welcomed historical thriller writer Lucy Jago to talk about her powerful and fascinating historical novel ‘A Net for Small Fishes’. Julia Donaldson’s name dedication offer drew to a close in early March, with a crazy flurry of orders from, it seemed, hundreds of physician mums, who had shared our website link in their Facebook group, and then we had just a couple of weeks to try to get the shop looking its best in time for the grand reopening in April!
With typical bad timing, the shop refitting of lighting and carpets – which necessitated removing ALL the books and most of the shelving – coincided with Gudrun’s house move, so we were a woman down for the big refit – Sara, Rob, Gill, Sarah & Alice worked like trojans to get everything back in place for April 12th, the re-opening date. They managed it with their sanity just about intact, and the shop, with sparkling new lighting, smooth new grey carpet, and rearranged shelving, has never looked better!
It was truly wonderful to be open again and get back to face-to-face bookselling! As schools re-opened we had quite a rush of publisher ‘virtual event’ offers for schools, so began to dip our toes into these strange new waters – we figured out a way to offer the virtual event books to parents via our website, and it all worked quite well! We’ve had virtual school events with Vashti Hardy, Jenny Pearson, Sophy Henn, Thiago de Moraes, and A.M Howell during May, June & July.
April saw more virtual events – Steyning Bookshop favourite Claire Fuller joined us on Zoom for a book-group style event, talking about her Women’s Prize-nominated novel ‘Unsettled Ground’, this was a really interesting evening, and Claire was, as ever, a really friendly and thoughtful interviewee. The bookshop staff definitely think there is something to be said for these virtual events – feels like a holiday NOT having to hulk boxes of books, wine & glasses down to our studio venue! And sitting on your own sofa in your PJ’s while interviewing an author is quite a strange sensation!
June drew to an end here in a burst of exciting activity as we celebrated Independent Bookshop Week and had our first live signings for over a year, in the bookshop garden which is looking a bit better than usual this year thanks to ministrations by author and illustrator Emily Gravett’s good gardener chum Sophie – love that we even have a book connection with our gardener! In the preceding week we had the excitement of hosting an online interview by Gudrun with wonderful Esther Freud, and then the first day of Indie Bookshop Week was super exciting too as we took part in a very special multi bookshop online launch of Julia Donaldson’s gorgeous new book The Woolly Bear Caterpillar, with Julia and Malcolm broadcasting from the bookshop. And there were surprise roles for Rob and for me reading the lines of two of the caterpillars! Fame at last! Despite weather warnings, our three garden events that week were fine. Absolutely lovely families came to the Woolly Bear Caterpillar signing by Julia, with jolly caterpillar-y activities and delicious caterpillar shaped biscuits to keep everyone going, as starstruck children chatted to Julia and heard Malcolm singing their favourite songs. On the last Saturday of IBW young science enthusiasts were treated in the morning to a fun fact-filled event by Dr Liam Drew introducing his new book The Brain published by Dorling Kindersley and in the afternoon we had more lovely families arriving with starstruck children when Liz Pichon of Tom Gates fame paid her first visit here for many a year. Her new in paperback book Shoe Wars had given her free rein to wear and bring some amazing fantasy shoes, and Gudrun, her son Otto and amazing young helper Ellie Aungier laid on some great shoe related craft activities including customising kids’ own trainers. An action-packed week was rounded off by the bookshop opening on the Sunday to sell the ticket/brochures for our Steyning in Bloom Garden Tour and finding the day more dramatic than expected with road blocks, sirens and helicopters galore after the illegal Steyning Rave on the Saturday night. Tour visitors peering at their gardens maps found themselves alongside bedraggled ravers searching for their cars – one raver was heard to say – “I left it in a road with trees in it”. Thanks to Jo Gordon and Steyning for Trees their search was probably quite a challenge! Hard to find a road without trees now.
To celebrate the lovely honour of being the Crime Writer Association’s Bookshop of the Month for July 2021, we wanted to celebrate crime writing! So we are delighted that thriller writer & journalist Lucy Atkins will be Zooming in to discuss her fourth novel, the critically-acclaimed thriller ‘Magpie Lane’. Lucy will be joined by wonderful writer William Shaw, with his interviewing hat on.
This will be a kind of ‘Open Book Group’ style event – 2 of our book groups will be reading ‘Magpie Lane’, we are very happy to invite non book-group members to join the event but we strongly recommend that you read the book first, as there may be SPOILERS and we can’t have that with a thriller!
Lucy Atkins is an award winning British author and journalist. She has written four novels, most recently the critically acclaimed MAGPIE LANE. Many of her books are published internationally and THE NIGHT VISITOR (2017) has been optioned for television. Lucy teaches on the Creative Writing Masters degree at the University of Oxford. She was a judge for the 2017 Costa Book Awards , and is a book critic for The Sunday Times. She has lived in Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia, and is now based in Oxford, with her family and her dog.
About Magpie Lane
When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers.
As Dee looks back over her time in the Master’s Lodging – an eerie and ancient house – a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.
But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent?
Roaming Oxford’s secret passages and hidden graveyards, Magpie Lane explores the true meaning of family – and what it is to be denied one.
Our kids author event this summer on FRIDAY 20th AUGUST at 11 am in our lovely bookshop garden will be lots of ROARING good fun! We are thrilled to welcome illustrator / author VICKY WOODGATE back for a dino-tastic event celebrating her new book ‘A World of Dinosaurs’. Expect lots of Cool Facts, LIVE Drawing and a Roaring Quiz with amazing competition giveaway signed prints!
Tickets are just £4 per child – and ticket-bearers get £4 OFF Vicky’s book. Free refreshments for children.
Book in store, call 01903 812062, or online via Ticketsource (incurs a small booking fee)
Celebrate Independent Bookshop Week with Julia Donaldson, in the comfort of your own home!
Saturday 19th June, 10.30am to 11.30am.
Join Julia Donaldson for this special one-off live, online event. Julia will read her latest stories, including ‘The Woolly Bear Caterpillar’, perform songs accompanied by her husband, Malcolm, and answer questions from the audience. The event will stream live via Zoom, in a collaboration with Wee Three Indies, At Home with 4 Indies, and The Steyning Bookshop.
Tickets £5 Or FREE when you order one of the following books from the Steyning Bookshop:
The Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Yuval Zommer – £12.99** The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie – £6.99 The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler – £6.99
Please book your event access ticket here or by calling us on 01903 812062. If you would like to purchase one of the 3 books, you will get £5 off the book price if you state that you are an event ticket-holder. You can purchase the books + postage via our website store, in person at the shop, or by telephone. If purchasing via our website we will manually adjust the price so do mention in the ORDER NOTES that you are a ticket-holder.
Meet Julia Donaldson at her first ‘in-person’ book-signing for more than a year, as she celebrates the launch of her new picture book, The Woolly Bear Caterpillar, wonderfully illustrated by Yuval Zommer. This charming ‘Ugly Duckling’ style story is full of facinating nature facts and even includes a mini-book of bug facts by Michael Blencowe, from Sussex Wildlife Trust. The signing will take place under shelter in the garden of the Steyning Bookshop, in timed 30-minute slots from 3.30pm onwards on Thursday 24th June. Tickets are £12.99 which includes 1 copy of The Woolly Bear Caterpillar for signing. 1 ticket booking admits 1 family group of up to 5 (1 adult / 4 kids or 2 adults, up to 3 kids). There will be no more than 25 bookings per 30 minute slot to avoid long queues.
To book online (booking fee applies): 3.30pm slot click here
A fun, fact-filled interactive event for families with children aged 7-11. Neurobiologist turned writer Liam Drew will introduce curious kids and budding scientists to the amazing & mysterious world of the brain. Starting with the weird and wonderful brains of different animals, we’ll look at how information gets into the brain, then how our brains learn, make memories, and think. We’ll look, too, at emotions, sleep, and how we are all unique – with lots of time for questions and conversation!
To take place in the Steyning Bookshop back garden marquee, at 11am on Saturday 26th June.
Family tickets £10 per family. Includes a copy of The Brain Book by Dr Liam Drew.
Exclusive – this is Liz Pichon’s first live ‘real-life’ event for a year!
Meetbest-selling ‘Tom Gates’ author LIZ PICHON for a special book-signing to celebrate the paperback release of ‘Shoe Wars‘, her hilarious new book – chockful of crazy cartoons, bursting with invention and packed with mad gadgets! On Saturday 26th June, from 3pm.
Book-signing will take place under shelter in the beautiful back garden at the Steyning Bookshop, with appropriate social-distancing measures. Signing will be in 30 minute slots with no more than 25 bookings per slot. 1 booking costs £7.99 and includes a paperback copy of ‘Shoe Wars’ for signing. 1 small family group of 1-5 people constitutes 1 booking. The Steyning Bookshop will have copies of all Liz Pichon’s books on sale for signing. Customers may not bring their own books from home for signing.
We are so excited that renowned, award-winning novelist Esther Freud is to join us LIVE for a VIRTUAL EVENT on Zoom, to discuss her new novel I Couldn’t Love You More – an unforgettable novel about love, motherhood, secrets and betrayal.
This will be a kind of ‘Open Book Group’ style event – we invite you to read the book first and then join our 3 book groups online, where after a short interview, Esther will be happy to take questions from audience members. The event price of £15 INCLUDES a hardback copy of I Couldn’t Love You More, so when you pre-order the book with us, do mention that you are a ticket-holder! You can book here or call us on 01903 812062.
Esther Freud’s cult first novel Hideous Kinky was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys prize and made into a film starring Kate Winslet. After publishing her second novel, Peerless Flats, she was chosen as one of Granta’s Best of Young British novelists along with Kazuo Ishiguro and Jeanette Winterson. Her last novel, Mr Mac and Me, won Best Novel in the East Anglian Book Awards. I Couldn’t Love You More is her ninth novel.
We are thrilled that award-winning novelist Claire Fuller is going to join us for a virtual event on Wednesday April 21st, to discuss her latest amazing novel ‘Unsettled Ground’. This will be a kind of ‘Open Book Group’ style event – we invite you to read the book first and then join our 3 book groups online, where after a short interview, Claire will be happy to take questions and respond to your observations.
Claire Fuller is a firm favourite of all our staff and book group members here at the Steyning Bookshop. She came to Steyning to discuss her gripping, unsettling debut novel ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ with our book group, and then returned to tell us about ‘Swimming Lessons’, her beautifully written second novel. We sadly missed a visit for ‘Bitter Orange’ her darkly simmering third novel (which I adored!) so we are really looking forward to welcoming Claire back, albeit virtually, to talk about her new novel ‘Unsettled Ground’, published on March 25th.
‘Unsettled Ground’ is a beautifully-observed portrait of lives lived at the fringe of society, and what happens when those edges fray. The central characters, 51 year-old twins, Julius and Jeanie, have lived a sheltered rural existence with their mother, Dot, surviving hand-to-mouth on what they can earn from their garden produce and odd farming jobs. When Dot dies suddenly, the twins are forced to confront the outside world, and long-kept secrets begin to surface, casting doubt on family truths and shattering their precarious existence.
Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1967. She gained a degree in sculpture from Winchester School of Art, but went on to have a long career in marketing and didn’t start writing until she was forty. She has written three previous novels: Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize, Swimming Lessons, which was shortlisted for the RSL Encore Award, and Bitter Orange. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her librarian husband. You can visit Claire’s website here!
Call us on 01903 812062 to purchase your copy of ‘Unsettled Ground’ and register to join the event, OR buy online via our website here!
A moving and exciting story of brotherhood, friendship & the power of dreams!
Imagine having the ability to step inside your dreams, to consciously control the action and the setting, and even meet your friends there! When 11-year-old Malky accidentally steals a strange device, the ‘Dreaminator’, he and his younger brother Seb begin sharing wild dream adventures…. But the device is unstable, and soon things take a nightmarish turn, with Seb lying in a coma, trapped in his dream, and Malky awake and unable to reach him. With the help of his friend Tenzin, her mystical Tibetan grandma, and a dying old man, Malky must face his darkest unconscious fears and take a leap into the void.
This is an absolutely BRILLIANT rollercoaster adventure, fast-paced, funny, inventive and heartfelt. Ross Welford’s cast of quirky and lovable characters and warm humour manage to make an unbelievable story completely plausible. I have adored ALL Ross Welford’s books, but I think this one just may be my favourite!
For readers aged 8-12 (ish!) Paperback coming soon, apparently. Click HERE to buy on our website
On March 25th we will welcome novelist & biographer Lucy Jago, who’ll be discussing her wonderful new historical novel ‘A Net for Small Fishes’ live online via Zoom. All 3 of our bookgroups are reading ‘A Net for Small Fishes’ but we are keen for this to be an open event for interested readers far and wide! Entry to this event is FREE with purchase of ‘A Net for Small Fishes’ from the Steyning Bookshop. This will be a book-group style discussion, whereby most participants will have read the book already, so we suggest buying and reading the book prior to the event, to avoid spoilers! You can buy the book via our online store here (be sure to include your email address for the Zoom link!) or ring us on 01903 812062 to pay & collect from our porch collection box.
‘A Net for Small Fishes’ is a richly-imagined historical novel set at the Jacobean court, loosely based on a true scandal that rocked the court of James the First. It is already attracting rave reviews such as this, in the Guardian, which calls the novel ‘gloriously immersive’.
Lucy Jago is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction, and a former documentary producer for Channel 4 and the BBC. Her first book, The Northern Lights, won the National Biography prize and has been translated into eight languages; her YA novel, Montacute House, met with critical acclaim in the US and the UK.
Lucy was awarded a Double First Class Honours Degree from King’s College, University of Cambridge, and a master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute, London. Lucy is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society and lives in Somerset.
Elly will chat to fellow crime-writer William Shaw about her thrilling new novel ‘Night Hawks’ in a live online Zoom event. Elly Griffiths is a firm local favourite with readers here in Steyning, as she is based in Brighton, although ‘Night Hawks’ is set amongst the windswept landscapes of North Norfolk. It is Elly’s 13th novel featuring lovable forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. We can’t wait to hear more about Elly’s inspiration for this story, which is rich in twisty intrigue, and layered with folk-myths and ancient superstitions. A group of metal detectorists called The Night Hawks stumble upon a body while searching for buried treasures on a Norfolk beach….A double murder-suicide on an isolated farm… The body of a giant dog excavated in the farm grounds… Strange rumours of a spectral hound…What is the connection, and why do Ruth and DCI Nelson find all their avenues of enquiry lead them back to Black Dog Farm?
Tickets are £5, your booking entitles you to £5 off your copy of ‘Night Hawks’ (RRP £20, our price £17, price with event ticket £12!) Call us to reserve and pay for your copy, mention you are a ticket holder to get your discount! Or order the book via our website here (mention you are a ticket holder in the ORDER NOTES to claim your £5 off) Lockdown permitting, we hope we will have signed copies!
Poet Kathleen Jamie’s latest collection of luminous, clear-eyed essays is a profound meditation on humans’ place in history and within the natural world. From a 500 year old Inuit village being gradually revealed by warming summers in Alaska, to the shifting sand dunes uncovering the minutiae of domestic Neolithic life in Scotland, to a small Tibetan dog in the town of Xiahe and a diagnosis of cancer, worlds shift and reveal themselves as Jamie considers our connections to the past, the nature of memory and forgetting, the tethers that bind us and the ways in which we cut loose. A good counterpoint to Robert Macfarlane’s immersive and occasionally terrifying Underland. Really wonderful!
There have been some fabulous natural history books published this year, and this is one of my favourites. Dave Goulson, professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, takes us through the ways in which the average garden can support the myriad of creatures that dwell within it, delving deep into the private lives of hoverflies, ants, ladybirds, worms, and far more. Entrancing, polemical and very entertaining, this is a book for anyone with even the tiniest garden, window box, or passing interest in the natural world.
This is a lovely exploration of the complicated natural history of the eel, and of those entangled in its slimy coils, from Aristotle and Freud, to the author and his father. After nearly two and a half thousand years of study, we now know the rough outline of the eels’ lifecycle. It is born as a willow-leaf shaped larva in the Sargasso Sea, drifts across the Atlantic to the rivers of Europe, becoming a glass eel, and then a yellow eel, spending decades in murky freshwater, before undergoing its final transformation to a silver eel and travelling four thousand miles back across the Atlantic to breed in its birthplace. However, no-one has ever seen an eel reproduce, or been able to give a complete account of their metamorphoses, or even seen a mature eel in the Sargasso Sea. And no-one really knows why they are disappearing. This is a beautiful and fascinating book, its gentle melancholy coming from the fact that it is in fact an elegy, to Svensson’s father, and their relationship – conducted largely through eel-fishing – and perhaps to the eel itself, whose catastrophic declines may never recover.
Join award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell, and the incredibly talented illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini at 6pm on Thursday 5th November to celebrate the launch of their gorgeous new book, Where Snow Angels Go; an extraordinary and compelling modern fairy tale about the bravery of a little girl and the miracle of a snowy day. Chaired by Katherine Woodfine, this virtual event will feature an enchanting reading and mesmerising live drawing from Maggie & Daniela, as well as an opportunity for you to ask the duo questions. It’ll be a magical event not to be missed!
Event suitable for ages 5+
Event format: Zoom
Book + Ticket price £14.99 ( your copy of Where the Snow Angels Go will be reserved at the Steyning Bookshop as soon as we receive your booking) OR Event-only price £2. We will contact you by email with the Zoom Meeting ID after your booking and again the day before the event.
Praise for Where Snow Angels Go, publishing Thursday 5th November
“As perfect as a snowflake. As magical as snow.” – M. G. Leonard
“[It] has all the tell-tale signs of a future classic. A perfect, magical Christmas story.” – Sarah Crossan
“An enchanting, emotive and magical piece of work that transported me” – Laura Dockrill
“Where Snow Angels Go is a tender and magical story, told in O’Farrell’s characteristically beautiful, witty prose which is matched perfectly by Daniela Terrazzini’s sweepingly lovely artwork.” – Anna James
After the lockdown months of semi-hibernation (in fact we were very busy sending signed Julia Donaldson books out all over the country!) , we re-opened our doors in mid-June with a host of COVID-safe measures – a second till-point in the children’s area, plastic shields around the 2 tills, hand-sanitiser stations, and masks for those who have forgotten theirs! It was truly wonderful to be back chatting to our lovely customers again, and we were very busy through July and August, with lots of visitors to the village excited to find a real bookshop!
We have bravely ventured into the new world of Zoom online events – our first was a children’s story and drawing Zoom event with illustrator of Giraffes Can’t Dance Guy Parker-Rees for his sweet new picture book Elephant Me. As a first foray into Zoom events with authors rather than book group meetings we were pleased and relieved that all went pretty well – just a short blip at Guy’s end at the finish. It was his first online event too! Guy also decorated our childrens window, here he is in action-painting mode!
This was followed by an interesting book group Zoom meeting with Sarah Moss, author of Summerwater, published by Macmillan, a fascinating novel which curiously, although written well before Covid, had striking resonances to our current preoccupations – featuring small family units confined in a remote Scottish cabin site and the tensions this isolation created. We felt very fortunate having Sarah to ourselves to quiz about the book, from her new home in Southern Ireland where she is taking up a post at University College Dublin teaching creative writing.
We were very sad not to be able to have a big boozy launch party for local poet Simon Zec’s second volume of poetry, ‘In the Downtime’ which was published at the end of September by Steyning-based publisher, The Real Press. Instead, we had a ‘virtual’ launch online – Simon read a few verses, and participants were able to raise a glass from their own comfy armchairs! Still fun, but sadly lacking Sara’s delicious book-launch canapes! We have signed copies of ‘In the Downtime’ available at the shop and online, and a few of the print+book packages which include the two beautiful and eminently frame-able prints by talented local artists Rob Winterson and Benita Hibberts which feature on the cover and inside the book.
All through October we are continuing our VIRTUAL SIGNING for Julia Donaldson’s brilliant new picture book, The Hospital Dog! This is an even lovelier rhyming story than ever (especially if you are a dog-lover like me!) The illustrator is Sara Ogilvie who also illustrated the very sweet The Detective Dog and captures the movement and expressions of children (and of dogs!) beautifully. Here Julia returns to the theme of a helpful dog saving the day, this time in an amusing and touching story of Dot, a delightful Dalmation who visits children in hospital to cheer them up. Your children aged 2- 6 should LOVE it and you will too we’re sure! You can request a signed and name dedicated copy at the shop or order via our online store, adding the dedication names in the ‘order notes’ section at checkout.
Saturday October 3rd was ‘Books are My Bag’ day – or ‘Bookshop Day’ as it is now called. Usually we celebrate with author signings, lashings of tea and Sara’s home-made cake distributed to the throngs of chatty customers picking out bargains in our annual sale, but due to COVID we can have neither crowds nor cake! But we DID have our sale with some great bargains still to be found, and the wonderful ELLY GRIFFITHS kindly popped by to sign copies of her very entertaining new murder mystery ‘The Postscript Murders’. It was lovely to catch up with Elly, who, like her characters, is always very upbeat and full of fun! We have plenty of signed copies of The Postscript Murders and Elly’s other books in store now, and are eagerly looking forward to hearing Elly chat with fellow authors William Shaw and Lesley Thompson at our Zoom online event on October 15th.
Looking into the Autumn, we are very excited to have sold lots of tickets for our event ‘A Criminal Conversation’ on Thursday 15th October at 7.30pm, which will see Sussex-based thriller writers William Shaw, Elly Griffiths, and Lesley Thompson discussing their craft. The silver lining to Zoom online events is that readers from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD can join, and we were very excited to see that we have readers from as far away as Australia and the U.S.A joining this event! Also of course, if it is a dark and stormy night, you can stay home in your own comfy chair with your favourite tipple and still be ‘in the room’! Do get your questions ready as there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions at the end. Ticket holders are entitled to £5 off the latest hardback by any of the 3 authors, do mention this when purchasing whether it be online or in the shop so we can deduct your £5!
In 2019, as part of our ‘Book Lovers’ literary festival, author, archaeologist and broadcaster Mary Ann Ochota came to Steyning and treated us to a fascinating guided walk around Chanctonbury Ring (along with her dog and her very well-behaved little baby son on her back!) and a brilliant talk with slides at the atmospheric Gluck Studio. Mary Ann specialises in the human history of our landscape, and is bursting with knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject! We are very excited to be part of the virtual bookshop tour for Mary Ann’s new book ‘Secret Britain; Unearthing our Mysterious Past’, on Thursday October 22nd at 7.30pm. This is an absolutely splendid book, beautifully-produced, chockful of photos and featuring a host of both famous and lesser-known artefacts, and historical sites, from notable treasures like the Sutton Hoo helmet, to prehistoric wooden goddesses and the compelling evidence for ancient British mummification… complete with handy maps and visitor tips! I am really looking forward to joining Mary Ann’s online talk – tickets are available via Ticketsource or ask at the shop, for either the ticket-only price of £6 or ticket-with-book price of £20.