A poetry festival hosted by an independent bookshop is set to return after a four-year hiatus.

The Woodstock Poetry Festival was launched by The Woodstock Bookshop in 2011 and ran consecutively for 8 years.

The festival will take place over the weekend of December 1 and 3 at various sites around Woodstock, including St Mary Magdalene Church, Woodstock Town Hall and a final event at the Woodstock Social Club.

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This festival will be hosting local, national and international names from the world of contemporary poetry, including Ishion Hutchinson, Nancy Campbell and Jo Clement.

Mr Hutchinson, following his shortlisting for the T.S. Eliot Prize, will be flying in from New York where he teaches at Cornell University.

Alongside the poetry readings, there will also be a selection of talks and live discussions.

Michael Stewart, poet, novelist and creator of the Brontë Stones project, will be doing both at the same event.

Laura Walker and Alexander Ault will be discussing their British Library book Poems in Progress: Drafts from Master Poets. 

They both are lead curators for the British Library's treasure trove of manuscripts and will be in conversation with Chris McCabe, poet, editor, and National Poetry Librarian.

Damian Le Bas will be in conversation with Ms Clement on how their Romany heritage has shaped their writing.

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The successful podcast Backlisted will be recording an episode on the Saturday night with Neil Astley of Bloodaxe Books and the poet MacGillivray to discuss Basil Bunting’s Briggflatts.  

Sunday will see Jenny Lewis hosting an open mic night followed by musicians Nick and Judith Hooper seeing out the weekend with a performance on stage.

The Woodstock Bookshop, which is located on Oxford Street, was opened in May 2008, by Rachel Phipps.

Ms Phipps announced in January 2020 that she was looking to find new owners for her popular store.

The store was bought by Oxford University professor Hagan Bayley in January 2022.

The store was on the regional shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2009, 2013 and 2017, and listed in the Independent's Top 50 UK Bookshops.

The bookshop continues to host regular literary events from Simon Parker's tales of cycling through lockdown Britain to Alexander McCall Smith charming his fans.

In recent weeks there has also been an unexpected visit and signing from legendary actor Sir Patrick Stewart.

The shop provides regular book sales for other literary events in the area, including book launches, the Wootton Talks, The Woodstock Literature Society, The Woodstock Exhibition Foundation, as well as offering discounts and recommendations to numerous local book clubs.

The full programme for the festival can be found here: www.woodstockbookshop.co.uk/thewoodstockpoetryfestival