WELL-KNOWN authors are to read their latest stories at an Oxford theatre to raise money for the charity Oxfam.

Oxford author Mark Haddon, who wrote The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Joanna Trollope and Jeanette Winterson will read their stories from a series called Ox-Tales, at the Oxford Playhouse, on July 3.

The readings mark the start of a series of Oxfam Bookfest events, which will be held throughout the country from July 4-18.

There will be about 200 events, with authors giving readings, doing book signings and even volunteering to work in Oxfam bookshops.

Award-winning author Philip Pullman, who wrote the His Dark Materials trilogy, will visit volunteers at the bookshop in St Giles.

He said: “As someone who has shopped in Oxfam bookshops and supported Oxfam’s work for years, I was delighted to hear about Bookfest, which is a brilliant idea.

“It will give book lovers all over the country the chance to indulge their deepest passion, while helping to change lives for the better.”

Oxfam will also have a major presence at the Hay Festival of Literature, in Hay-on-Wye, which starts on May 21, with festival visitors asked to contribute to a book bank.

Nihal Alahendra, manager of the Oxfam bookshop, in St Giles, said: “We’re delighted that authors of the calibre of Mark Haddon, Joanna Trollope and Jeanette Winterson are reading their stories at the Playhouse to help raise money for Oxfam. Bookfest will be a sustained effort to promote books, literacy and Oxfam throughout the year.

“I hope this will be a springboard to make Bookfest an annual event, and we’re looking forward to Philip Pullman coming to the store.

“He will meet our volunteers, who will show him what happens behind the scenes in the shop.”

Thirty-eight authors have contributed to Ox-Tales, four volumes of short stories, which will go on sale in Oxfam shops and other book stores on July 4.

Last November, volunteers at the St Giles shop celebrated its 21st birthday and raised £4.1m in that time to help the poor and hungry abroad.

Last year, St Giles volunteer Andrew Chapman spotted an early Graham Greene novel, Rumour at Nightfall, in a box of donated books.

The 1931 first edition was sold at auction and raised £15,000 for the charity.