About Our Society

The Wooodstock Literature Society is a local not-for-profit organisation founded in 2009.  The aim was to present high quality talks on literature to local book lovers.
Since then its reputation and membership have grown to include members and visitors from around West Oxfordshire and Oxford. The annual programme of talks is wide-ranging through classic and contemporary authors to drama, poetry, and foreign authors in translation. Our speakers over the years include academic specialists, published authors, and literary journalists.  Our speakers list can be seen on a separate page.

 Looking back over ten full years, many members will have their own personal favourites among the wide range of our talks.  Highlights must include Dr Stuart Lee's original and moving talk on the poets of the First World War, in which unknown and unpublished soldier-poets were discussed along with the well-known names; and Amanda Craig's thoughtful and diverting talk on the Golden Ages of Children's Literature.  Alexandra Harris and Jeremy Treglown gave us brilliant talks on 'Bloomsbury' art and literature, and the cultural aftermath of the Spanish Civil War respectively.  On a lighter note, we had highly enjoyable talks on Scandinavian crime fiction, Oxford Detectives, and great classic women crime writers.  Several speakers made repeat visits due to popular demand such as Peter Kemp, the drama and fiction critic of The Sunday Times, and Dr David Grylls.  Recent outstanding highlights include Professor Roy Foster on the poetry of Seamus Heaney.


We like to meet each other and our speakers for a glass of wine after the evening talks, or tea and cake after the afternoon talks.  As we are a non-profit-making local society our charges are only a fraction of those of commercial literary festivals, and we are pleased to offer free entry to all under-18s.

Whether you are a reader, a writer, or a poet, your society welcomes your input and suggestions for future talks.  

 Linda Glees  (Chair)

Please:   email us

What they say about us!

Professor Helen Hackett of UCL: ' ..it was a pleasure for me to speak to such an appreciative and responsive audience'

Re: Alexandra Harris:   'Excellent! I have certainly booked this one in, as one of the best!  The Lit. Soc. has been acquiring more and more important authors recently - well done! Keep going! '
    Laurel Glockne

 “Seeing a Literature Society poster in the bread shop window was a major factor in choosing -Woodstock as a home – a sign of a pretty civilised town!” 
       Nigel Bryant, Woodstock

“The WLS brings together a group of people who are so warmly welcoming and so enthusiastic about literature that it is always a pleasure to spend time with them.” 
    Peter Kemp, literary critic and former fiction editor of The Sunday Times

“We joined the WLS in 2009, and despite our extensive travels, have remained enthusiastic members. The wide variety and high standard of the talks have not varied over the years.  We always look forward to reading the annual brochure each January so that the dates can be immediately entered in to our diaries”
       Marlene and Michael Knox, Witney

“My friends and I always enjoy the WLS meetings. It is an easy journey from Summertown either by bus or car and the venues are all convenient for Woodstock’s shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants. The talks are interesting and the atmosphere very friendly.”
  Helen, Oxford

There was a good audience in the Woodstock Town Hall for the talk by David Grylls, a regular speaker at WLS.

Another full house in the Woodstock Library for
James Atlee's talk

Peter Kemp entertained us in the Woodstock Museum; another regular speaker at WLS.

The society sponsored Tracy Borman's talk during the Woodstock Literary Festival 2013.