Shepherd's calendar

9:50am Thursday 24th July 2014

It is one hundred and fifty years since John Clare — “the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet” — died in a lunatic asylum.

Local author Pam Nixon

The Oxford Times:

9:00am Thursday 24th July 2014

In Oxford author Pam Nixon’s coming-of-age novel But I'll Remember This, Phyllida looks back at her teenage love affair with her English teacher’s husband Mike, an Oxford-educated miner’s son from South Wales.

The old Worse & Worse etc

8:50am Thursday 24th July 2014

Stroud-based Amberley Publishing has recently released two new books about the Great Western Railway.

Walking in the Chilterns

11:02am Thursday 17th July 2014

Cicerone is well known to mountaineers for its guides to peaks and scrambles in places like the Lake District, Scotland and the Alps.

Local author Angie Spendlove

The Oxford Times:

11:00am Thursday 17th July 2014

Former Oxford newsagent Angie Spendlove was born to an unmarried mother and spent part of her early life in a children’s home in Oxford. Her first book Changing Faces (Redcap, £8.99) tells the story of her mother Mary’s life, followed by an account of the author’s childhood. The story is a rollercoaster of emotions but ends happily with an endnote describing the 68-year-old author’s success as an entrepreneur — she ran a chauffeur business and a B&B as well as newsagents. The endnote also reveals that a sequel is on its way.

Tucking into a crusty dish

10:58am Thursday 17th July 2014

The unlikely title The Reluctant Cannibals will certainly get you sitting at the table ready for the literary starter — but the fleshy main course is comprised of an unlikely fusion of a group of male Oxford dons, an underground gastronomic society and the last will and testament of one of their number to have his body sampled as the ultimate test of the culinary palate.

From Homer to Vietnam

10:49am Thursday 10th July 2014

Merryn Williams on Oxford professor Jon Stallworthy’s war poetry anthology

Walking First World War Retreat

1:13pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

When Terry Cudbird retired after a business career, he could have put up his feet or tended the garden of his comfortable home in Marston. But instead, he put on his walking boots.

Walking to Narnia

1:07pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

Suffering post-holiday blues, I needed a walk that would transport me into a different world, starting from my own doorstep.

The rocks that made Oxfordshire

The Oxford Times:

10:41am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Never mind the architecture — what’s it made of? The Geology of Oxfordshire (Dovecote, £10) will tell you.

Focus on four landscapes

10:38am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Four Fields: it seems at first a rather unlikely “scraping the barrel” idea for a book, writing about fields. However, author Tim Dee's fields turn out to be interesting: the first is the fen at the bottom of the author’s garden in Cambridgeshire; another is in southern Zambia; the third is Custer’s killing field at Little Bighorn in Montana; and the last a poignantly polluted field in the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

Local author Christopher Jessop

10:35am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Christopher Jessop has used memories of North Hinksey primary school in his first novel, A Summer Break (Springboard, £8.99. He recalls the “clatterlatch lobby”, the “moany coke stove”, and a traditional lady teacher, – well-meaning and inspiring, always firmly in command.

A simple twist of fate?

10:34am Thursday 3rd July 2014

The title, The Drowned Phoenician Sailor, is a reference to the tarot in T S Eliot’s The Waste Land, and is an ambiguous symbol of rebirth and/or doom.

Walking into war

10:30am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Every nation that went to war in 1914 claimed, and probably believed, that they had been forced into it by the wickedness of others. It started on June 28 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was not a hawk, but the Austro-Hungarian hawks used his murder to justify the war they had always wanted. (9/11 comes to mind).

Local author Nick Green

9:58am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Nick Green, the son of writer Roger Green, grew up in Wolvercote. He managed Oxford restaurants until a chance conversation led him to work for a safari company in Botswana. His first book, Boathouse to Botswana, (£7.99), tells the story from his life working in bars and restaurants, including Brown’s, The Perch, the Cherwell Boathouse, to life on safari. It is published by Black Crake, a company which he set up to promote Botswana’s literary voice and nurture local talent.

Death on the Cherwell

9:57am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Death on the Cherwell: it’s worth reading this book for the title alone — and is a reminder that Colin Dexter does not have the monopoly on crime fiction set in Oxford.

Mystery told by Dark Angels

9:47am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Keeping Mum (Unbound, £9.99) is about 14 people linked to botanist Iris White, found dead in her bedroom in mysterious circumstances in the remote Balmore Hotel in Scotland.

Historians at war?

11:30am Thursday 12th June 2014

Margaret MacMillan, Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, has been immersed in conflict over the past few months — ironically, since she is the multi award-winning author of two books with the word ‘peace’ in the title.

Trouble on home front

10:53am Thursday 12th June 2014

Philippa Logan enjoys two novels exploring civilian life during the First World War

Answer to prickly question

9:00am Thursday 12th June 2014

Hedgehogs have fascinated humans since antiquity.

Landscape of Burnt Norton

9:00am Thursday 12th June 2014

Trespass is a favourite metaphor for writers, but the poet TS Eliot took the word more literally while on a walk in the Cotswolds.

Trouble on the home front

9:00am Thursday 12th June 2014

It’s not really surprising that fictional stories set in the First World War have many common themes. In reality, many couples who were ‘stepping out’ before the war were separated when war actually arrived.

Sir Scallywag sails again

The Oxford Times: Sir Scallywag sails again

9:00am Thursday 12th June 2014

Giles Andrae, creator of the Purple Ronnie character, has written a second rhyming adventure with Oxford illustrator Korky Paul, best known for Winnie The Witch. Sir Scallywag and the Deadly Dragon Poo (Puffin, £6.99) tells of the six-year-old knight’s battle to thwart Baron Greedyguts’ plan to steal the sweet machine. Puffin is hoping it will be as big a success as the first collaboration, Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants.

Yes. I remember Adlestrop

3:29pm Thursday 5th June 2014

It is one of the world’s most famous railway journeys. Not the Orient Express, nor the Trans-Siberian — it is the day, just before the outbreak of the First World War, when a train carrying the poet Edward Thomas drew up ‘unwontedly’ to the tiny station of Adlestrop.

Plain talking

3:23pm Thursday 5th June 2014

Some people are lucky with their relatives, including Oxford author Rebecca Gowers. One of her great-grandfathers, Douglas Pelly, provided the story to enable her to become a full-time writer. Now another great-grandfather, Ernest Gowers, has thrust her into the limelight again.

Forties theme inspired by home

The Oxford Times: Forties theme inspired by home

3:02pm Thursday 5th June 2014

Jo Eames, co-owner of Peach Pubs, has published her second book Not Only The Good Boys (£9.99), a historical novel like her first, The Faithless Wife, which explored the Spanish Civil War on Menorca.

Beating the retreat

The Oxford Times: Terry Cudbird, who traced the route of the retreat to the Marne in the First World War

3:00pm Thursday 5th June 2014

Terry Cudbird didn’t want to put his feet up after retiring, so he walked 4,000 miles around the perimeter of France.

Man who broke four-minute mile

2:57pm Thursday 5th June 2014

I interviewed Sir Roger and Lady Moyra Bannister for The Oxford Times magazine Limited Edition, so became aware of his energy and the range of his achievements. Talking to me, he emphasised his research into neurology and how he was part of the explosion of knowledge achieved in his life time from which we benefit.

Roger Bannister is a scientist and a sportsman

11:19am Thursday 5th June 2014

Sylvia Vetta on the biography of Roger Bannister, who ran the first four-minute mile

Sleuth searching for truth

1:21pm Thursday 29th May 2014

Richard Jones on Harry Bingham's psychologically damaged detective Fiona Griffiths

Trigger for bloodletting

11:51am Thursday 22nd May 2014

Philippa Logan enjoys two books bringing fresh perspectives to the First World War

Murder Most Unladylike

10:10am Thursday 15th May 2014

Robin Stevens grew up in Pembroke College, Oxford, where her father was Master.

Tsar's tragic family

The Oxford Times: Historian Helen Rappaport

9:00am Thursday 15th May 2014

‘Now that I’m about to be freed of my responsibilities to the nation, perhaps I can fulfil my life’s desire — to have a farm, somewhere in England.” Such was Tsar Nicholas II’s counterintuitive reaction after being forced to abdicate.

Oxford sleuth on prowl

1:28pm Thursday 8th May 2014

Richard Jones enjoys the world of Edwardian spy, Oxford don Septimus Oates

Swimming Upstream

The Oxford Times: Swimming Upstream

9:00am Thursday 8th May 2014

Ruth Mancini juggles her job as a criminal defence lawyer with writing and raising children. She previously worked in the publishing industry.

Picture book magic

9:00am Thursday 8th May 2014

It was International Dawn Chorus day on May 4, and the birds were up early to celebrate.

New sleuth: Edwardian spy and Oxford don

9:00am Thursday 8th May 2014

Septimus Oates is a scholastic sleuth caught up in a regal conspiracy that takes the reader on a trip through European history during the 150 years leading up to the start of the First World War.

Oxtopia rides again

12:51pm Tuesday 6th May 2014

Four-minute mile record holder Sir Roger Bannister was one of the guests of honour for the launch of Oxford Castaways 2, a collection of interviews by Sylvia Vetta.

Going wild in the city

12:49pm Tuesday 6th May 2014

Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks, who live in South Oxfordshire, have devised more outdoor fun, following the success of The Stick Book.

Runaway without trust

12:47pm Tuesday 6th May 2014

War isn’t so bad, thinks 16-year-old Paul Hansen, hero of Robert Rigby's The Eagle Trail, until that unforgettable moment when his father screams “Get away, Paul — Run! Run!” followed by a blast from a German sub-machine gun.

Inner thoughts of Narnia author

4:23pm Thursday 24th April 2014

Imagine sitting down with Narnia creator C. S. Lewis for a cuppa. What would he talk about and what made him tick?

Local author

The Oxford Times: Local author

4:22pm Thursday 24th April 2014

Peter Holland, Linacre Professor of Zoology at Oxford University, will be talking at Chipping Norton Literary Festival on Sunday about his book The Animal Kingdom: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, £7.99) Described as ‘a modern tour of the animal kingdom’, beginning with the question of what animals are, and new views on their evolutionary relationships, the free talk at 10am in the town hall is one of several sponsored by Oxford University Press.

Lark Rise: fact or fiction?

The Oxford Times: Lark Rise actor Olivia Hallinan, who played Flora Thompson in the BBC series, at Fringford

4:20pm Thursday 24th April 2014

In the wake of the popular TV adaptation of her trilogy of 19th-century Oxfordshire rural life, another biography of Flora Thompson was to be expected.

Lark Rise to Candleford: fact or fiction?

11:45am Thursday 24th April 2014

Peter Barrington on a new look at Oxfordshire author Flora Thompson

Fisherman's daughter who became viscountess

9:00am Thursday 17th April 2014

Julie Ann Godson (real name Thorne) moved to Northmoor four years ago and heard the tale of the humble 18th-century fisherman’s daughter who married a lord and became a viscountess.

A century through workers' eyes

9:00am Thursday 17th April 2014

The People isn’t quite what you expect from an Oxford historian. It is a passionate account of the history of the working class by someone who arrived here from a Newcastle comprehensive school.

Four-minute runner at Chippy festival

The Oxford Times: Roger Bannister at Blackwell's

4:08pm Tuesday 15th April 2014

Fans queued for hours on Saturday to meet Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

Joanna Trollope on when women take over

The Oxford Times: It can be a woman's world, says Trollope

11:54am Thursday 10th April 2014

Hannah Stephenson talks to Joanna Trollope about her latest family saga

Creating Utopia in Oxfordshire

The Oxford Times: Bill Heine

9:00am Thursday 10th April 2014

Sylvia Vetta has been writing her ‘Castaways’ column for The Oxford Times’s award-winning colour magazine, Limited Edition, for six years, interviewing a selection of the great and good of Oxfordshire, as well as more ordinary people.

Balancing Act by Joanna Trollope

The Oxford Times: Joanna Trollope

9:00am Thursday 10th April 2014

Joanna Trollope is famed for her family dramas, which always feature contemporary social issues, flawed characters and tangled relationships.



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