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.
Lucia Berlin’s collection of short stories, A Manual for Cleaning Women was published posthumously to great acclaim, and Evening in Paradise is a follow-up selection from Berlin’s remaining stories.
The stories are loosely autobiographical, arranged chronologically to follow the arc of Berlin’s life, and take us from a pair of seven year olds running a scam in El Paso, through the beauty and disillusionment of a young girl’s first romantic liaison, to young wives coping with kids, their husband’s addiction, abandonment, to a furious old woman on the roof of her own house while her family try to celebrate Christmas. Savage, funny, shocking and beautiful, they present some unforgettable images – the iridescent, sulphurous smoke of the smelter in a mining town, the yellow aromo blossom sticking to a couple’s skin – in concise writing that brings the reader up short with its power. The dark thread of alcoholism runs through many of the stories as well as the brighter threads of love, romantic and maternal, and of beauty found in the most unlikely places. Outstanding.
We are thrilled to present a fantastic science event with science writer Dr Michael Brooks and TV presenter/writer Rick Edwards. This entertaining and informative show, based on their hit podcast and upcoming book Science(ish) examines the science behind the movies. Illustrating their theories with film clips from iconic movies, Michael and Rick will ponder whether it’s really possible to bring back an extinct species (Jurassic Park), whether we will ever be able to travel back in time and meet our parents (Back to the Future) and if it is possible that we are, in fact, already living in a computer simulation (The Matrix).
Dr Michael Brooks is an author, journalist and broadcaster, holds a PHD in Quantum Physics and is editor-at-large of the New Scientist, as well as writing a weekly column for the New Statesman. He is the author of At The Edge of Uncertainty, The Secret Anarchy of Science and the bestselling 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense.
Rick Edwards is a TV presenter and writer with a particular interest in mathematics and the natural sciences. As a broadcaster Rick has most recently made a foray in to the world of quizzing as the host of BBC1’s daytime show !mpossible which aired in January 2017 and will return for an extended second run in May this year. Amongst his other numerous presenting credits are: ITV2’s comedy roast Safeword, BBC Three’s live current affairs debate show Free Speech and Channel 4’s Paralympic Breakfast Show. He also writes a monthly fashion column for The Observer, and has made forays into stand-up comedy.
Advance booking highly recommended for this event, as it promises to be fantastic fun and very popular!
Start time is 7.30pm, wine and soft drinks will be on sale, and a reduced price of £7 is available for under 18’s.
Booking is available online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/FDFIGM
or by phoning us on 01903 812062.
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!
A really fascinating book, which blew our minds! The facts that fungi are closer to animals than plants, that they can solve a maze by the most efficient route, that they can have hundreds of different genders, the revelations come thick and fast. One of those books that entirely changes the way we see the world and often feels closer to philosophy than natural history. Amazing!
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.