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!
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.
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!
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.
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’!