Match point

Wimbledon is upon us. So what links Andy Murray with Lewis Carroll and George W. Bush? The magic of Oxford as World Book Capital (keep your fingers crossed!) could bring them together. Carroll was a significant Oxford mathematician and he noticed that in a normal tennis tournament the prizes don’t always go to the best. … Continue reading

Publishers in Oxford

It is easy to see why Oxford is the second largest hotspot for publishers after London: only an hour away from the capital, with a literary and academic background that is hard to rival, the city has countless publishers of all kinds, perhaps the most renowned being that of its famous university ‘Oxford University Press’ … Continue reading


One of Oxford’s greatest bookstores is undoubtedly Blackwell’s, whose name has long been synonymous with the city and its unrivalled academia. Whilst the chain now owns flagship shops in Cambridge, London Charing Cross Road and Edinburgh South Bridge, it was Oxford’s Broad Street in which Benjamin Henry Blackwell opened his first ever store in January 1879. In those … Continue reading

Oxford World Book Capital 2014

Hello again Oxford World Bookers, sorry for such a long absence – holidays and work experience following that have meant no time whatsoever to devote to the blog – but I’m pleased to say I’m back again and ready to do some last-minute posts on why Oxford deserves to win before UNESCO’s decision in early … Continue reading


Last week I was privileged to be in the audience when Aung San Suu Kyi received her honorary degree from Oxford in the magnificent setting, full of pomp and ceremony, of the Sheldonian Theatre. Not the least part of the occasion is the celebration of language. The formal proceedings are conducted in Latin, until the Public … Continue reading

The city in the world

Last week I wrote about the diversity of language and culture in Oxford but if we are awarded the accolade of World Book Capital we also want to make sure that we take it out to the world. You shouldn’t actually have to come to Oxford to share in the experience. A very bright student … Continue reading


Es brillig war. Die schlichte Toven Wirrten und wimmelten in Waben; Und aller-mümsige Burggoven Die mohmen Räth’ ausgraben. Even if you can’t speak German I bet you can tell what that is a translation of. And if you’re still struggling the wonderfully Germanic ‘Banderschnätzchen’ in the next verse should give it away.  It is of … Continue reading

The Hedgehog and the Fox

Over six hundred years ago Oxford University had its first library – in an upper room in the University church of St Mary the Virgin (now, less grandiosely, above the café in the church). Just over sixty years ago a group of people met together in the same room to form the Oxford Committee for … Continue reading

An imaginative way with words

There’s been lots of media interest today in children’s language – their inventive storytelling, familiarity with technology-related terms, and thirst for unusual words. It’s been sparked by OUP’s analysis of more than 74,000 stories written by children for BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words competition 2012. It just goes to show how vibrant language is, and how fascinated … Continue reading

A treasure shared

If you walk along Broad Street in Oxford at present you’ll come across an A-to-Z of the Bodleian’s treasures on the hoardings shrouding the New Bodleian while it undergoes its transformation. L is for Le Carré, whose characters deal in secret knowledge. (Artwork Sophie Durand) But knowledge is a funny thing. If I share my … Continue reading

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