Month: September 2011

Autumn Events at Blackwell’s Oxford

We think that our schedule of author events for the Autumn is the most interesting and exciting that we have ever put together. Perhaps most eye-catching is Steven Pinker in the Sheldonian Theatre on November 3rd, one of only three UK events. In addition to this marquee event we have an eclectic selection of quality talks and performances, from a Classics Balloon debate to an evening of Zombie related horror! Melissa Benn, Ian Goldin and Owen Jones add a political dimension with talks on Education, Migration and the Demonization of the Working Class respectively. Society and Philosophy are represented by Misha Glenny on all our Cyber Threats and Nigel Warburton presenting his charming “A Little History of Philosophy”. Add in the cutting edge performance poetry, prose and music that Eightcuts have brought together for the This is Oxford evening and there is a little (or a lot!) for anyone. Here’s the programme in full:



Dr Austin and Sean Page “Zombies!”

Wednesday 26th October at 7pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford
Tickets £2.00 tel: 01865 333623 or

Review of Zombie Science 1Z here Book available here
Review of The Official Zombie Handbook(UK) here  Book available here

Ever mused to yourself that there just aren’t enough bookshop events about Zombies?! We attempt to correct this state of affairs by offering you not one but two experts in the field of Zombie Research, and more particularly, what to do in the event on a Zombie invasion. Those experts are Doctor Austin (author of Zombie Science 1Z) and Sean T. Page, the author of two books on Zombieism: THE Official Zombie Handbook (UK) and War against the Walking Dead. The perfect event for Halloween and Half Term!

Classics Evening – Featuring the
Classics Balloon Debate! with Adrian Goldsworthy, Bettany Hughes and Harry Sidebottom

Thursday 27th October at 7pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford
Tickets £2.00 tel: 01865 333623 or

Celebrate the worlds of Ancient Greece and Rome with us: immerse yourself in all things classical, philosophical, historical and mythological and enjoy our Classics Balloon Debate: In case you’ve not come across the concept before, a balloon debate involves a panel of speakers who are all speaking in the guise of a famous figure from History with the aim of justifying why they should not be thrown out of the hot-air balloon which is rapidly falling to Earth and needs to lose some excess weight quickly! Participants include Bettany Hughes, Harry Sidebottom and Adrian Goldsworthy with more authors to be announced.

Owen Jones “Chavs – the Demonization of the Working Class”

Tuesday 1st November at 7pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford
Tickets £2.00 tel: 01865 333623 or

Jon Cruddas reviews the book here  Book available here

Owen Jones’ book, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class couldn’t be more relevant and timely and its a masterful analysis of society, class and attitudes in the UK today. In Chavs, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from “salt of the earth” to “scum of the earth.” Exposing the ignorance and prejudice at the heart of the chav caricature, he provides a damning indictment of the media and political establishment, and an illuminating, disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain.

Steven Pinker “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Thursday 3rd November at 7pm
Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford
Tickets £5.00 (or buy the book and ticket together for £25.00)
tel: 01865 333623 or

David Runciman reviews the book here Book available here from 6th October

Most people would probably select our event with Steven Pinker as the stand-out, don’t-miss, absolutely essential event of the Autumn. It takes place at 7pm on Thursday 3rd November at the Sheldonian Theatre. Steven Pinker will be talking about his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, in which he expounds his theory that, contrary to popular belief, humankind has actually become less violent over the centuries.
Pinker is one of the gargantuan intellectuals of our age and this book is epic in substance and scope. He’s only appearing in three cities in the UK this time around, and we would strongly recommend that you get in early to avoid disappointment.

Out of the Blue “Rush”

***Breaking News***We have just agreed today to host the launch of Oxford University’s internationally acclaimed all male a cappella group Out of the Blue’s new CD on Wednesday 9th November. More details to follow as we get them.

Misha Glenny “Dark Market: CyberThieves, CyberCops and You”

Wednesday 16th November at 7pm
Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford
Tickets £2.00 tel: 01865 333623 or

Book available here
In this fascinating and compelling book, Misha Glenny, author of the international bestseller McMafia, explores the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. Governments and the private sector are losing billions of dollars each year, fighting an ever-morphing, often invisible, often super-smart new breed of criminal: the hacker. Glenny has travelled and trawled the world. And by exploring the rise and fall of the criminal website, “Dark Market”, he has uncovered the most vivid, alarming and illuminating stories.

Well we hope this stellar list has piqued your interest. Whether you are a stalwart attendee of our events or have yet to come along to one you are very, very welcome. We hope to see you at one, or more, over the coming weeks.

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Author Event – Mark Williams on Mindfulness

They were packed in last night for a talk by Professor Mark Williams on Mindfulness and how it can help combat depression. If you weren’t able to make to the talk here’s it is in full over two videos:

Thanks to Mark for his generosity of spirit – I know that many, many people appreciated last night.


Which authors should have their own ‘day’?

There are a number of authors / books that have their own day of celebration. For example Alice’s Day on 4th July, November 12th is Carl Sagan Day, Tolkien Reading Day is March 25th and, of course, World Book Night is run on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd

First question I have is are there other days that you know of that are dedicated to celebrating an author or specific book?

And the second question is who do think is worthy of such an accolade?

Let us know through the comments – you never know, you may see your suggestion adorning our windows in the future.

Exclusive Oxford Student Evenings

Students of Oxford! On the evenings of Sunday 9th (6pm – 10pm) and Monday 10th (7pm – 10pm) October  we are opening our doors, and our specialist Art and Music bookshops across the street, after hours just for you.

We figure that you are looking for a few things in your first week at Oxford – cheaper books, prizes, free food and some top notch entertainment. It is with great delight that all of these, and more, are on offer each night.

For these nights only we are offering a minimum 10% discount on anything bought in the shop, although there will not be any ‘double discounts’, meaning that if something is already price promoted the best discount will apply. However, you are very welcome to sign up for our Reward Card that runs throughout the year and gives you an additional £5 off for every £100 spent. The shops are there for you to browse, buy or just wander around.

Our staff have been busy twisting the arms of publishers and local businesses to snaffle prizes to be part of our Prize Draw for anyone ‘liking’ our Oxford Student Facebook page (an Event has been created on this page, it would be lovely if you could let us know if you are planning to come) The top prize is a £500 Blackwell’s Gift Card!

Free food will be provided by Domino’s on the Sunday and the brand new Oxford Hub restaurant on the Monday. The brilliant G&D’s are bring in their staggering 13ft long bike to serve you up with waffles and ice cream and our very own Caffe Nero will be open for business on the 1st floor.

There is a veritable feast of entertainment lined up from the Oxford Imps and Out of the Blue performing on the Sunday to author, and internet sensation, Matt Lacy as ‘Orlando’, still on his Gap Yah on the Monday. Added to this we have some of our favourite local performers – the exquisite Little Fish, the achingly funny Paul Askew and the incomparable George Chopping. Geoff Robinson will be in on the Monday to talk about investment banking internships and George Garnett will be giving a very short talk based on his Very Short Introduction to the Norman Conquest (still awaiting confirmation for this).


Still want more? Go on then…

Oxfam, Amnesty International, the Oxford Hub, National Literacy Trust, the Ashmolean, Maltby’s bookbinders, quality bespoke T shirts from Caitlin Hinshelwood and the Oxford Student newspaper.

Phew! And there will be even more besides…

We really think that there is something for everyone, do come and join us on one, or both, of the evenings.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Academic Manager

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Just two of our upcoming events

Thursday 29th September at 7pm
Mark Williams: “Mindfulness”
Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

On Thursday 29th September at 7pm, we present Mark Williams who will be talking about “Mindfulness” – a self-help book about depression which is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT revolves around a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation which takes just a few minutes a day for the full benefits to be revealed. MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression and it is recommended by the UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence – in other words, it works.

“Mindfulness” focuses on promoting joy and peace rather than banishing unhappiness. It’s precisely focused to help ordinary people boost their happiness and confidence levels whilst also reducing anxiety, stress and irritability.

Tickets cost £2 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. Telephone 01865 333623.

Thursday 6th October at 7pm
Melissa Benn: “School Wars”
Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

On Thursday 6th October at 7pm, Melissa Benn will be here to talk about her new book, “Schools Wars.”

“Schools Wars” is the story of the struggle for Britain’s schools, and a passionate call for education as a public good.

School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain’s education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments.

From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a forensic look at the inequalities of our current system, the damaging impact of spending cuts, the rise of “free schools” and the growth of the private sector in education. Melissa Benn explores, too, the dangerous example of US education reform, where privatization, punitive accountability and the rise of charter schools have intensified social, economic and ethnic divisions.

The policies of successive British governments have been muddled and confused, but one thing is clear: that the relentless application of market principles signals a fundamental shift from the ideal of quality education as a public good, to education as market-controlled commodity. Benn ends by outlining some key principles for restoring strong educational values within a fair, non-selective public education system.

Tickets cost £2 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. Telephone 01865 333623.