Kirkdale Bookshop Newsletter

Summer 2012



Pissarro in South East London

Monday July 9th 8pm

One of our bestsellers during the last year has been a book about Pissarro in South East London – A TIME AND A PLACE: NEAR SYDENHAM HILL by Kathleen Adler, the former Director of Education at the National Gallery –not only exceptionally well researched, but also a beautifully produced paperback at £12. We are so lucky to have persuaded Kathleen to come to Sydenham to give an illustrated talk in St Bartholomew’s Church.


Pissarro, the French impressionist painter, lived briefly in Norwood in 1870–71. He painted many local landmarks in Dulwich and Norwood, but his most famous painting is The Avenue, which includes St Bartholomew’s Church in Sydenham, the beautiful venue for this event.

Tickets are £6 can be bought from the Box Office in the Bookshop or from

Our Current Exhibition


Do try to see LONDON WOODCUTS by Susan Short. The exhibition, one of our favourites, finishes at the end of June, so there’s still time. They really are stunning!


Sydenham Arts Festival

This year the Arts Festival (July 1st-15th) is bigger and better than ever before. The activities, performances and exhibitions offer a fantastic variety for children and adults alike. As well as having the Festival Box Office operating in our gallery, we are involved in a number of the events.


Roger McGough: That Awkward Age


Saturday 14th July 7-9pm.

We are so excited that Roger McGough is coming to Sydenham as part of the Sydenham Arts Festival. Recently dubbed the patron saint of poetry by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, he is one of Britain’s best known contemporary poets. He presents Radio 4’s Poetry Please and was last year elected president of the Poetry Society. He’s also a former pop star, reaching number one as a member of The Scaffold in 1968 with Lily the Pink. Here he reads from his collection That Awkward Age, in which he wrestles with mortality, seeks love in the laundrette and jives in Macca’s trousers.

Performance poet Adisa the Verbaliser and local poet Hannah Lowe will also be appearing on stage.

Ken Kirby Theatre, Forest Hill School £10/£6 concs.


More Sydenham and Forest Hill Artists

Monday 2nd July 7.30-9pm

We are pleased to welcome back our local historian Steve Grindlay. (Some of you may remember our sell-out talk last year). Steve will share more revelations about local artists, musicians and writers, including one or two surprises.

Tickets £5. The talk will take place in the bookshop so early booking is essential.

Oh, how I wish I had a bigger shop!

The next exhibition in our gallery will be....

Every Picture Tells A Story

Saturday 7th July 3-5pm

Come along to the launch of this exhibition work by children’s book illustrators. The exhibition will continue until the end of August 2012.

There will obviously be a lot of other exhibitions in Sydenham and Forest Hill as parts of the Arts Trail. Come into the shop and pick up a Sydenham Arts Festival - Arts Trail brochure.

Dear Mr Dahl

Saturday 14th July


For those of you who love Roald Dahl stories, go along to the theatre at Forest Hill School on Saturday afternoon. Tickets can be bought from the Festival Box Office in the bookshop, or online at


We’ve got a lot of POETRY coming up in the next few weeks........

For children there is..

Children’s Storytime

Saturday 14th July 10-30-11am

Younger children can come and listen to rhymes and poems.


Write A Poem Workshop

Saturday 14th July 2-3pm

Children aged 7-12 can come and learn to write a poem with Orlaine McDonald.


For adults and older teens

Poetry Workshop with Gale Burns

Thursday 5th July 6.30-8.30pm

Come and write with the help of the Festival Poet Gale Burns. Learn in a friendly setting, with writing prompts, editing skills, and inspiration of published work. Even read your own work at ‘A Fiesta of Poetry’ (a later Festival event). £10/£8


For all......

Word On The Street

Saturday 14th July 11am-1pm

A wonderful carnival of poetry on the pavement for passers-by of all ages. Featuring a host of exciting poets including Dzifa Benson and resident poet Gale Burns.


Different for Girls

Saturday 7th July 7-9pm


Three high-profile writers of fiction for teenage girls will be sharing their experiences at Sydenham School. Sally Gardner (I, Coriander) Kate Cann (the Diving In trilogy) and Sufiya Ahmed (Secrets of the Henna Girl) will discuss the future of reading and writing for teens with The Guardian and Stylist magazine columnist Lucy Mangan, author of several books including Hopscotch and Handbags: the Truth About Being A Girl. The writers will also read from their books and sign copies after the event in a ‘meet the author’ session. £5/£3 concs. Sydenham School, Dartmouth Road.


Open Book Group

Our book group is held on the “second to last Wednesday” of every other month. At our last meeting we discussed Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.  A lively discussion resulted in a wide range of opinions from “loved it” to “not sure why it was shortlisted for the Booker”.

The next meeting will be on WEDNESDAY 18th JULY 7.30pm, when we will be reading THE STRANGER’S CHILD by Alan Hollinghurst.  This has just been published in paperback and we are expecting it to be one our bestsellers.  I loved it!


’’Our greatest English prose stylist at the height of his powers.’’ William Boyd



Sydenham International Music Festival

We are now selling tickets in the bookshop for the flute and piano concert in ST CHRISTOPHER’S HOSPICE on TUESDAY 3rd JULY 2.15pm.


Book Ordering

We pride ourselves on our fast and efficient book ordering service. For those of you with e-readers, don’t forget that we can also order E-BOOKS. Just go onto the ‘Books’ section of our website and click BUY ONLINE. This will direct you to our HIVE website, where the prices are very competitive. You can even buy DVDs. It’s not the same thing as coming into the shop but every little helps. For those of you annoyed with Amazon for managing not to pay a single penny in tax in Britain (and very little elsewhere) it could be a possible alternative. [HIVE works on the basis that a very small proportion of profit goes to a chosen bookshop or, by default, to the nearest independent bookshop].


Books ..Books..Books.. Books..

A selection of new books...


Hardback Fiction:

The Red House by Mark Haddon, the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. This highly anticipated new novel follows the life of a hospital consultant who decides to build bridges with his estranged sister and her family, following their mother's death.


Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel. This is the sequel to the Man Booker-winning novel Wolf Hall, in which Henry VIII falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour at Wolf Hall. Cromwell sees what's at stake: not just the king's pleasure, but the safety of the nation. The novel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history; the destruction of Anne Boleyn.


Our Lady Of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif. (We still think of Hanif as our local author, although he lives in Pakistan!) The patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments are looking for a miracle, and Alice Bhatti is looking for a job. Alice is a candidate for the position of junior nurse, grade 4. With guidance from the working nurse's manual, Alice brings succor to the thousands of patients littering the hospital's corridors and concrete courtyard.


Paperback Fiction:

The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst. This is our next Book Club book (see above), and it is fantastic!


For those of you who loved Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides has a new novel The Marriage Plot, quickly becoming a staff favourite! As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different men, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead, brilliant scientist and charismatic loner, attracts Madeleine with an intensity that she seems powerless to resist. Meanwhile her old friend Mitchell Grammaticus, a theology student searching for some kind of truth in life, is certain of at least one thing - that he and Madeleine are destined to be together. But as all three leave college, they will have to figure out how they want their own marriage plot to end.


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This is the Orange Prize Winner 2012 from first time novelist Madeline Miller. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.




Dial M For Murdoch by Tom Watson. This book uncovers the inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service and our press.


London: Secret History Of Our Streets by Brian Hill. Accompanies the new BBC series which explores one of the great forces shaping our lives: property. Why we live where we live, and how that choice informs the lives we lead. In a modern version of a classic survey from the 19th century, this remarkable book tells the story of six London streets, representing the widest possible picture of the city both socially and geographically.


Barack Obama: The Making of the Man by David Maraniss. A sweeping narrative which reveals the real story of Obama's beginnings: child of a black man from Luoland and a white woman born in Texas. It is an extraordinary journey from a mixed race boy raised by white grandparents in laid-back Hawaii to an African America with a burning political vision and vocation. The book contains a wealth of new material, such as previously unpublished love letters written by Obama as a young man in a search of an identity. He also includes the journal entries of Obama's first significant (white) girlfriend, which chart their intense relationship and the moment when young Barack realized that he must leave everything behind him and set out for Chicago in order to 'become' an African American. The story wrought here is one of fierce ambition, survival, and love.



Childrens Books


Getting children to read seems to be an endlessly debated and fiddled with issue. The emphasis is once again on phonics and rhyme with Oxford producing an outstanding selection of early readers including the new Songbirds series by Julia (Gruffalo) Donaldson.  Before children get around to actually learning to read they’ll be well ahead if they’ve been sharing books with you, listening to you read to them, especially wonderful rhyming stories with exciting and witty pictures. We want children to love books, so it follows that the best books for them are by people who love both language and children.  Here are just a few of our favourite read-aloud stories.


Today is Monday by Eric Carle

String beans, spaghetti, ZOOOOP, roast beef, fresh fish, chicken and ice cream are the delicious fare during the week in this popular children's song. Until Sunday. Then, all the world's children are invited to come together and share in the meal. Celebrated artist Eric Carle brings new energy to these much-loved verses as lively animals parade across the page, munching on favourite dishes, and introducing young readers to the names of the days of the week. Both art and song invite children to join in the procession and sing along


Not Last Night but the Night Before by Colin McNaughton

A little boy’s unexpected guests look oddly familiar in this ode to birthdays — and big imaginations. Before you know it, the man in the moon is knocking, followed by three little pigs, Little Bo-peep, Miss Muffet, and many more visitors, all in a rush. But where are they going, gifts in hand? Colin McNaughton’s energetic rhymes, beautifully illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, transform one child’s quiet night into a celebration full of well loved fairy-tale characters.


The Rhyming Rabbit by Julia Donaldson

Award winning Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson has created a delightfully entertaining picture book that celebrates poems of all kinds. All the rabbits are sick of hearing the rhyming rabbit’s poems for every occasion. Sadly, the rabbit sets off to find someone who can appreciate his rhyming habit. He has no luck with a worm, a mole or a centipede but luckily meets a sheep with the same gift. Lydia Monk’s sparkling and tactile illustrations make a great accompaniment.


The Singing Mermaid by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Did you ever go to Silversands on a sunny summer's day? Then perhaps you saw the mermaid who sang in the deep blue bay.

The singing mermaid is tempted away from her home at Silversands where her beautiful voice captivates the birds and the fish, to join the circus. Sam the circus owner promises fame, a marble pool and a feather bed. The audiences love her but the poor mermaid, soon finds out that money is all Sam cares about. She turns to her old and new friends to help her. Will she ever escape? Brilliantly illustrated by Lydia Monk.

A Little Aloud for Children. Forward by Michael Morpurgo

An anthology of poems and stories to read and share aloud.  It brings together some of the best writing for children from past to present, in one wonderful book. There really is something within the book for children of all ages and backgrounds– from Dracula to The Jumblies, Moonfleet to the Moomins, Dickens to Roald Dahl. Enjoy with parents, family members, carers and friends.


New Gifts 

Lovely new selection of Jelly-Cat soft toys are coming in late June. They are so cuddly!


Really nice children’s exercise books..... stationery sets.......stickers.........owl purses..... new notebooks.......... and of course lots of new beautiful cards.