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 Fiction – A Round Up!

Oxford English Dictionary

With the bid decision drawing close, I thought a last post to round up some great Oxford fiction would be in order as I go on holiday tomorrow for a fortnight: when I return, there won’t be long left until the verdict so some supporting information about the city in general and why we deserve … Continue reading

Brideshead Revisited

Another Oxfordian classic which deals with class from a completely different perspective to Hardy’s ‘Jude the Obscure’ is Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited,’ whose upper-class protagonist, unlike Jude, did indeed have the opportunity to study at Oxford. Again weaving issues of class, marriage and religion, ‘Brideshead Revisited’ shares a further similarity with ‘Jude’ in its somewhat … Continue reading

Jude the Obscure

Set in Christminster, a fictional town modelled on Oxford, Thomas Hardy’s ‘Jude the Obscure’ is yet another classic that takes the city of dreaming spires as its inspiration. Widely considered one of the most depressing, the novel intertwines suicide, murder and the severe consequences of religious constrictions and was publicly burned in its time for … Continue reading

Christ Church

Well, that’s it; after ten days of world-class speakers, Michelin-starred banquets and endless exciting literary debuts to mark the start of summer, the Oxford Literary Festival has finally closed its doors for another year. Some of the city’s most famous landmarks played host to over 300 authors and public figures, with most days blessed with … Continue reading

More Murder and Mayhem in the City of Dreaming Spires

Often described as a contemporary Colin Dexter, Veronica Stallwood is the author of numerous crime thrillers set in Oxford. 2011’s ‘Oxford Ransom’ isthe fourteenth and final book in the popular series featuring Kate Ivory, historical novelist and part-time reluctant sleuth. As the series progresses, protagonist Kate does so too and avid readers will find the … Continue reading

Zuleika Dobson

Another Oxford-based read to kickstart March is Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson (hope everyone had a great World Book Day yesterday by the way, what a brilliant bookish beginning to the start of spring!) No crime this time, just an extremely satirical love story in which the captivatingly beautiful Zuleika Dobson leads a hopelessly besotted legion … Continue reading

The House in Norham Gardens

‘The House in Norham Gardens’ is actually intended as a children’s book but is one of those crossover titles that could – and has been – easily enjoyed by adults of all generations. Set in 1970s North Oxford, the story’s protagonist is 14 year old Clare, who is resigned to living with her two kindly … Continue reading

The Dead of Jericho

You may recognise ‘The Dead of Jericho’ from TV’s ‘Inspector Morse’ but originally it was actually a novel, written by Colin Dexter and published in 1981. Like the first instalment of the popular TV series, the novel takes place in North Oxford’s affluent Jericho, with the initial policeman in charge based at the station on … Continue reading

Dirty Tricks

Oxford is a fantastic place to set a novel. The historic ‘City of Spires’ has already played host to countless films and TV shows, as we have seen in previous blogs, but the awing architecture and gargoyle-ridden alleyways have provided the setting for many a book too. Over the coming weeks I will be writing … Continue reading

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