Steyning’s own Poet Laureate, Simon Zec, has a new collection of poetry coming out with Steyning’s own publisher, Real Press (run by the lovely David Boyle). We are so sad we cannot have a big, boozy book launch party at the shop, but do join us virtually via Zoom to hear Simon talk about his book and hopefully recite a few pieces. (BYOB!) Sorry, you’ll miss out on Sara’s incredible canapes though…!
Simon describes the collection as ‘Trying to find the cracks in the darkness where the light can shine through.’ Click HERE to buy the book from us.
The book features beautiful cover art by two talented local artists, Benita Hibbert and Rob Winterson, and these are available as limited-edition prints. The first 20 prints are being offered at a bargain price as part of a book+print bundle – for £28.99 you can get a signed book and 1 of each limited-edition, signed print . Click HERE to buy.
To join Simon’s virtual launch party, simply email us at info@steyningbookshop to express your interest, you will then receive the Zoom link.
Join best-selling thriller writers Elly Griffiths, William Shaw, and Lesley Thomson for a live-stream online event at 7.30pm on Thursday 15th October. Tickets cost £5 which can be refunded against a book purchase – all 3 authors are happy to sign & dedicate their books for event participants. Tickets can be booked online, by phone, or in person at the bookshop. Attendees will receive a Zoom Invitation link via email. Click HERE to book online.
Brighton-based writer Elly Griffiths‘ new novel The Postscript Murders (out 1st October in hardback) is a sequel to The Stranger Diaries, likewise featuring the gay, Sikh DS Harbinder Kaur. An ingenious literary mystery set amongst the crime writers’ community – a world of literary agents, murder consultants and publishers. DS Kaur is asked to investigate the death of 90 year-old Peggy Smith, who just happened to be a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors. The investigation takes her from the sleepy Sussex seaside town of Shoreham-by-Sea to the granite streets of Aberdeen, encountering a cast of quirky characters, as the clock ticks and crime writers are bumped off one by one! Elly’s lively, engaging characters and gentle humour complement her brilliantly twisty plotting.
William Shaw‘s riveting and atmospheric new novel Grave’s End is the third in his DS Alexandra Cupidi series, and dives deep into the corruption and power games of property developers …. When an unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house, no-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. The case is handed to DS Alexandra Cupidi and leads her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets, tracing back to the disappearance of a public-school boy 25 years earlier. Grave’s End zings with William’s characteristic razor-sharp observation, iron-clad plotting, and also delivers a powerful environmental message.
Lesley Thomson‘s latest novel Death of a Mermaid, set largely in Newhaven, is the darkly simmering story of a family reunion…. Freddy Powers walked away from her family 20 years ago, swearing she’d never return, after her father couldn’t accept her sexuality. But after the death of her mother, she finds herself back in Newhaven, helping run the family’s fishery business. The sudden disappearance of Freddy’s first love, Mags, ignites old passions and reveals long-hidden secrets. Freddy finds herself embroiled in the hunt for Mags and must confront her past and face the truth about her family. Death of A Mermaid is a thrilling story, peopled with well-crafted characters, suffused with menace and a vivid sense of place.
We can’t wait to hear these 3 writers chatting about their books, their research and their inspirations! There will be a chance for attendees to ask questions. Don’t forget your ticket gives £5 off the price of a book, and all 3 authors have offered to sign & dedicate books for event attendees! You can order your signed book in store, or, if you are not local, shortly we will add the books to our online store.
We are beyond thrilled that lovely Mary Ann Ochota (who visited Steyning for a fascinating walk/talk and event in June last year) is going to discuss her new book ‘Secret Britain’ LIVE ONLINE on Thursday 22nd October at 7.30pm.
‘Secret Britain’ takes a curious tour of the strange items and intriguing history of ancient Britain, ranging from the far Northern Isles to the Cornish coast. From famous treasures like the Sutton Hoo helmet, to little-known curiosities like Viking-inscribed spinning weights, prehistoric wooden goddesses and the compelling evidence for ancient British mummification, Mary-Ann reveals the way these ancient sites and objects still resonate today, with her characteristic enthusiasm and eye for curious detail.
‘Secret Britain’ is a beautiful hardback book to treasure, for intrepid explorers and armchair travellers alike, packed with full-colour photographs, detailed descriptions, and handy visitor tips.
A signed copy of the book will be yours to pick up from the Steyning Bookshop / have posted to you, if you choose the BOOK + EVENT TICKET PRICE of £20. Alternatively, if you’d just like to join the online event, you can get an event-only ticket for £6 – if you later decide to buy the book, we will give you £5 off the book price of £20.
ONLINE EVENT- ADVANCE BOOKING ESSENTIAL. You can book via TICKETSOURCE here
Once registered you will receive an email with access codes to the event. You will also receive a reminder a day before and an hour before the event
For those who haven’t yet dipped their toes into the waters of an Online Event, do not fear! You will need to install Zoom onto your pc / laptop / tablet, of course, and you will need to tell us the email address you used for your Zoom registration… then, just click on the link we will send by email and you’ll be ‘in the room’!
October 1st sees the publication of ‘Hospital Dog’, Julia Donaldson’s gorgeous new picture book, charmingly illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (who was the star artist behind ‘Detective Dog’).
Since we still can’t gather in person for a big book launch, we are celebrating the release with a ‘virtual signing’ – Julia Donaldson is happy to name dedicate and sign all copies of the book pre-ordered via our online store. Just order here and add the dedication names in the ‘order notes’ box at checkout. Book costs £12.99 plus P&P. No extra charge for the signing! Julia is kindly continuing to add dedications to all copies of ‘Hospital Dog’ purchased via our website for all October and November 2020!
From Emma Donoghue, the international bestselling author of Room, comes Akin, a brilliant tale of love, loss and family, enjoyed by our evening book group in August.
A retired New York professor’s life is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hopes of uncovering his own mother’s wartime secrets.
Noah is only days away from his first trip back to Nice since he was a child when a social worker calls looking for a temporary home for Michael, his eleven-year-old great-nephew. Though he has never met the boy, he gets talked into taking him along to France. This odd couple, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, argue about everything from steak hache to screen time, and the trip is looking like a disaster. But as Michael’s ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family’s past, both of them come to grasp the risks that people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew.
Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room a huge bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together.
‘If Room forced home truths on us, about parenthood, responsibility and love, Akin deals with similar subject matter more subtly, but in the end just as compellingly‘ – Guardian
Sussex-based author and illustrator Sophy Henn is a firm local favourite having wowed local primary schools with her highly entertaining author visits for her previous series, the hilarious Bad Nana books. Her young fans will be delighted that she’s now back with the first in a new series for readers aged 7-10.
‘Pizazz’ is a 9 year old girl who just happens to have … SUPER POWERS!
If you think being born into a family of super-heroes sounds cool, think again! Pizazz has to wear the same flappy-caped outfit EVERY DAY, it’s a PAIN always having to go off to save the world at inconvenient times, sometimes she doesn’t want to ALWAYS be the good guy, and try explaining your WEIRD super-hero family to friends at your new school….! And don’t even ASK about Pizazz’s superpower… Snappy, fast and funny, with absolutely BRILLIANT illustrations, Pizazz is a highly entertaining read for children aged 7+.
A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, set in the fascinating, unforgettable world of the formidable female pearl divers of Jeju, a small Korean island.
Mi-ja and Young-sook are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger. Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village.
The Island of Sea Women is an epic set over many decades, beginning during the period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, through World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, right up to the modern era of cell phones and wetsuits for the women divers. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point. This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a fascinating upside-down world, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. ‘No one writes about female friendship… with more insight and depth than Lisa See‘ Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees
What happened to the women we were supposed to become?
Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.
Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life? The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year, EXPECTATION is a novel about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. ‘Profoundly intelligent and humane. Deserves to feature on many a prize shortlist‘ GUARDIAN 99% of women will identify with this, apparently!
In the small town of Crozon in Brittany, a library houses manuscripts that were rejected for publication: the faded dreams of aspiring writers. Visiting while on holiday, young editor Delphine Despero is thrilled to discover a novel so powerful that she feels compelled to bring it back to Paris to publish it. The book is a sensation, prompting fevered interest in the identity of its author – apparently one Henri Pick, a now-deceased pizza chef from Crozon. Sceptics cry that the whole thing is a hoax: how could this man have written such a masterpiece? An obstinate journalist, Jean-Michel Rouche, heads to Brittany to investigate. By turns farcical and moving, The Mystery of Henri Pick is a fast-paced comic mystery enriched by a deep love of books – and of the authors who write them. Quaint and very French. From the Walter Presents series.
On Saturday 12th September at 11am, fabulous illustrator GUY PARKER-REES will GO LIVE on ZOOM with a lovely story-telling and drawing event, perfect for 3-8 year olds. To join in the fun, all you need to do is pre-order a copy of Guy’s brilliant new picture book ‘Elephant Me’ – either via our website, by popping into the shop, or calling us on 01903 812062. Make sure you give us your email address so we can send you the Zoom Link!
‘Elephant Me’ is available as a paperback at £6.99 and hardback at £12.99.
Blake Crouch may just have invented something totally new – his genre-bending novel ‘Recursion’, is a mash-up of mind-blowing sci-fi and suspenseful thriller, embedded within a deeply emotional love story.
The novel is a fresh take on the core themes Crouch explored in his previous thriller ‘Dark Matter’ – temporal reality, memory, and what it means to be human. The story opens with what appears to be an epidemic of false memory syndrome, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. Detective Barry Sutton and neuroscientist Helena Smith’s paths cross while investigating the phenomenon, and Helena is on the verge of a stunning discovery. They embark on a looping mission through time and alternate realities to confront their enemy and prevent the world being trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.
A brilliantly inventive, thoughtful, and surprising thriller, which was gulped down in 2 days!
Just out in March 2020 in paperback, this spell-binding fantasy novel by the supremely talented Frances Hardinge will suck you in and hold you in its grasp you like one of the many-tentacled sea-Gods who inhabit the story.
Frances Hardinge is the Costa-award-winning author of The Lie Tree and Skinful of Shadows. Deeplight, like those novels, is categorised as Children’s or YA fiction, but, like Philip Pullman’s, her books transcend age limits and I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to be transported on an adventure to the darkest ocean depths.
The story is set in the Myriad Isles, a scattering of islands peopled by sea-faring folk, many of whom make their living by scavenging the ocean depths for traces of ‘God-ware’ – powerful, magical fragments of the underwater Gods who once terrorised the isles.
When scavenger boy Hark and his best friend Jalt happen upon one such relic, they realise its’ value, but have no idea of the dark power it will exert… until it is too late, and Hark must face up to the fact that he has compromised not just who Jelt is, but what he is . . .
A dark, bewitching tale, which raises big questions about faith, friendship, loyalty, and what it means to be human.
I wolfed this astonishing, heart-rending novel down in a couple of days! An entrancing and beautifully-written novel by an author who has hitherto written for teenagers.
‘The Mercies’ is based on the real-life drama of a storm near the fishing village of Vardo in Northern Norway in 1617, which wiped out the male population of the small village, leaving the heart-broken women to fend for themselves, which they do, quite ably, until a Scottish Commissioner is sent North to tame their unseemly ways. The growing friendship between the Commissioner’s young wife, Ursa, and Maren, a feisty village woman, forms the centre-piece of the novel, which gathers pace as the full horror of the Commissioner’s mission becomes clear. An incredible glimpse into the havoc wreaked in a God-fearing fishing village by superstition and prejudice at the time of the Witch Trials.
‘Beautiful and chilling’ – Madeline Miller, author of Circe
A familiar face on our TV screens, Sally received great acclaim for her debut novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift, in 2018. Now we are pleased to introduce her second novel, The Ninth Child, a spellbinding tale which blends fact with fiction, history with folklore, and science with superstition, as it draws together the story of 17th Century minister Robert Kirke and Sally’s own great-grandmother. Set on the banks of Loch Katrine, where a huge engineering project is underway to deliver clean water to disease-ridden Victorian Glasgow and the hills echo with explosive blasts, The Ninth Child follows Isabel Aird, coming to terms with childlessness and attempting to start a new life with her engineer husband in this bleak but striking environment. When Isabel encounters a mysterious stranger who watches her every move, the foundations of her life grow increasingly less sure. Set in a pivotal era when engineering innovation flourished but women’s role was still muted, The Ninth Child blends folklore with historical realism in a masterly narrative. ‘An extraordinarily immersive read’ Guardian ‘Richly imagined and energetically told’ Sunday Times
When I heard from Jeremy Knight, Curator of Horsham Museum, about the secret project dreamed up by Robin Milner Gulland, husband of Washington artist Alison Milner-Gulland, to produce a book to accompany a retrospective exhibition in honour of her 80th birthday, I was absolutely thrilled because she is one of my favourite artists. With the help of art expert Rupert Toovey, a long-time fan, they have put together a delightful record of the wide-ranging work of this remarkable artist. There is a little story behind each piece, from the ancient legends of Chanctonbury Ring to the icons of Russia and the sad history of Syria. Here in this book we have a brief taste of a life full of adventure and creative exploration, with work both figurative and abstract, masterfully rendered in paint, pastel, collage or ceramics. As this quiet and indomitable artist says “I don’t paint to sell – I do it because I want to say ‘look, I’ve seen this, look at it’. It either sells or it doesn’t. Some will see what I see and if they don’t, well tough!” This lovingly produced book gives a wonderful opportunity to appreciate this philosophy at first hand.
THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER VIA THE LOCAL INTEREST SECTION OF OUR ONLINE STORE
The eagerly awaited sequel to the Costa Award winning Days Without End by one of Ireland’s greatest writers and current Irish Laureate.
A Thousand Moons extends the sequence of Barry’s eight novels, which touch each time on the worlds of two families – the Dunnes and the McNultys. In this novel, as in Days Without End, we meet with Thomas McNulty and John Cole, American Civil War soldiers, now a couple, living on a tobacco farm in Tennessee. Their adopted Sioux daughter Winona is the narrator this time, and we follow her journey as she deals with the consequences of a violent act against her. Full of memorable characters and written in Barry’s gorgeous lyrical prose, dreamy yet unflinching when confronted by the darker side of humanity, this is a wonderful book.
Fatima Bhutto, born in Syria and educated in the USA and the UK, is the niece of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and came to public attention with her memoir Songs of Blood and Sword which accused her aunt of the “moral responsibility” for her father’s assassination. Her powerful writing is used to good effect in The Runaways, her second novel, a story of three young people in Pakistan and England all of whom are disaffected in some way and experiencing a feeling of alienation which leads them to be exploited by skilful jihadis. This is an engrossing, exciting and truthful novel which, while not excusing the choices made by the protagonists, makes us aware of the vulnerabilities which can propel young people into catastrophic choices.
“burns with controlled indignation at the state of our world” Financial Times
A fun weekday morning session for pre-schoolers with popular author / illustrator Sam Lloyd, on Tuesday 24th March at 11.30am.
Sam’s event will be based around her new picture book Put Your Botty on the Potty, a brilliant, funny and fresh take on the potty training book! There will be stories, singing, colouring and sticking, and children will be able to create their own ‘Moo Monster’…and put him on the potty!
Sam Lloyd is hugely talented at creating laugh-out-loud funny books for children. Her titles include the Whoops-A-Daisy-World series and Mr Pusskins, which was the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and the Booktrust Early Years Award for Best Pre-School Book. Sam’s novelty books include Calm Down, Boris, Hello Dudley, What’s In Your Tummy Mummy, Grumpy Gertie and Farty Fred.
Tuesday 17th March 7.30pm at the bookshop
Just before Mothers’ Day (on Sunday 22nd March), let’s celebrate bad mothers with Stephanie Calman.
Daughter of the late well-loved humorist and cartoonist Mel Calman, Stephanie is the author of six books including the bestselling Confessions of a Bad Mother. Her latest, Confessions of a Bad Mother – the Teenage Years, published by Pan Macmillan, is full of witty and wry observations on life with teenagers, and is a must-read for parents and grandparents alike – and probably should be read by teenagers themselves!
Ticket includes a glass or two of wine, and ticket price of £5 is redeemable against book purchase.
Stephanie Calman is the founder of the Bad Mothers Club website and the author of six previous books including the bestselling Confessions of a Bad Mother. She created the hit Channel 4 sitcom Dressing For Breakfast and has appeared on many TV shows including Have I Got News For You and The Wright Stuff. She has also written for most British newspapers and magazines including the Daily Telegraph, Observer, Guardian, Cosmopolitan, GQ and Harpers & Queen, and has contributed to a wide variety of radio programmes, including Woman’s Hour and The Today Programme. She is married to the author Peter Grimsdale.
On Saturday 14th March at 11 am, we have a lovely event for younger children with up-and-coming illustrator Alice McKinley. Alice will read her book ‘Nine Lives Newton’ and lead a fun draw-along session.
Alice’s charmingly funny picture book debut ‘Nine Lives Newton’ is released by Simon & Schuster Children’s books in March.
Featuring wonderfully exuberant illustrations, the book tells the story of Newton, the dog who thinks he has nine lives and infinite luck. And if Newton has nine lives, then that means he can do all his favourite things but be MUCH more daring….but what if Newton’s got it all wrong and he’s not quite as invincible as he thinks he is?
Tickets are just £3 for children (accompanying adults are free) and the ticket price is redeemable against purchase of ‘Nine Lives Newton’.
Half term kids event. Tuesday 18th February at 2.30pm.
Join us for environmentally-themed stories & crafts with author and designer Zoe Tucker.
Zoe’s picture book ‘Greta and the Giants’ tells the story of Greta Thunberg’s environmental mission, re-imagining Greta as a forest child struggling against giants who are chopping down all the trees.
Zoe will read stories and help children get busy making an environmentally-themed crafty project!
Perfect for ages 4-8.
Ticket price £3 redeemable against a book.
Free refreshments provided.
BOOK SIGNING AND CHARACTER MEET AND GREET. Saturday 1st February from 11.30am. Booking Essential.
To celebrate 20 years of the Acorn Wood books, we have a very special visitor on February 1st! Postman Bear will be making an appearance at the Steyning Bookshop, accompanied by his creator, Julia Donaldson! We will have Acorn Wood themed games and activities, free refreshments for children, and of course Julia will be meeting fans to sign books purchased at the shop.
To book your place, either call the shop on 01903 812062, pop in, or use our NEW ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM! This event is essentially free – with a book purchase. To allow for online booking, we will charge £7 per family group. A family group can consist of either 1 or 2 adults and up to 3 children. This will entitle you to a confirmed place at the signing. Your £7 payment will be deducted from the price of the Julia D book/s that you purchase on the day. The Steyning Bookshop will have a full range of all Julia’s books on sale for signing, including of course, all the lovely Acorn Wood books! We regret that attendees are not permitted to bring books purchased elsewhere to be signed by Julia. Booking will be in timed half hour slots, starting at 11.30am.
The 11.30, 12 and 12.30 slots are full, we are booking into afternoon slots now. Please give us a ring on 01903 812062 if this link does not work or the slot has sold out without us noticing!
2 pm slot.
The delightful Acorn Wood series are some of our very favourite picture books for pre-schoolers. With their simple rhyming stories, charming illustrations by Axel Scheffler and fun flaps to peek under on every page, they are a perfect introduction into Julia and Axel’s world. The original four stories are Postman Bear, Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig, and Rabbit’s Nap, which have all been re-issued as smart new anniversary editions by Macmillan to celebrate 20 years in print! Even more excitingly, Julia and Axel are creating four new stories set to be published in 2021 and 2022.
On Monday 27th January 2020 at 11.30am we have a very special story time for little people! Actors from the brilliant Freckle Theatre production of Zog, which will be at the Capitol in Horsham next week, are kindly joining us at the bookshop for a story time session.
Expect much raucous roarsome fun! Perfect for pre-schoolers. Please book in advance so we know how many little people to expect. Only £3, redeemable against book purchase.
We are really excited to have finally bagged a visit from Brian Bilston, the hilarious poet and novelist, frequently described as the ‘Accidental Poet Laureate of Twitter’. Brian’s novel ‘Diary of a Somebody’ is just out in paperback and has been short-listed for the Costa Book Award, First Novel Category.
‘Diary of a Somebody’ is the achingly funny story of a year in the life of .. ‘Brian Bilston’. It’s January 1st and Brian Bilston’s life needs to change. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a motivational speaker and marketing guru to boot; he seems to constantly disappoint his long-suffering son; and at work he is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and management jargon. Brian’s resolution is to write a poem every day; poetry will be his salvation. But there is an obstacle to his happiness in the form of Toby Salt, his arch nemesis in the Poetry Group and rival suitor to Liz, Brian’s new poetic inspiration. When Toby goes missing, Brian is the number one suspect… Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is a unique, warm, and hilarious novel.
Brian Bilston has been dubbed ‘the Banksy of Poetry’ – he has kept his identity secret and stumbled into poetry via composing short poems on Twitter, eventually racking up more than 50,000 followers. His first volume of poetry ‘You Took the Last Bus Home’ was released in 2017, and ‘Diary of a Somebody’ came out in 2019. His powerful poem ‘Refugees’ has also been released as a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book. His clever, wry poems can take the shape of Christmas trees or Venn diagrams, he can poke fun at grammar pedants, and take the piss out of Jeremy Clarkson, but also tap into profound depths.
Tickets are £12 to include a paperback copy of ‘Diary of a Somebody’, plus wine & nibbles. Brian’s other books will also be on sale.
Pop into the shop, give us a ring on 01903 812062 , or book online – we think this will be a popular one so buy soon!