Literary Oxford

  • The city of Oxford is a hive of literary activity, with a long history of fostering some of the world’s most famous creative minds.

    Regular literary events

    • Catweazle - a warm, welcoming open-mic night often involving poetry and story telling, held at East Oxford Community Centre every Thursday night. Over 20 years old now!
    • No Reading Alone - a night of poetry and spoken word held once every few months around Oxford, hosted by the local writers group Oxwords.
    • Hammer and Tongue - a night of performance poetry, with headlining acts and a poetry slam, held at various venues around Oxford.
    • George’s Jamboree - a night of live music, comedy and performance poetry held on the first Monday of the month at the Jam Factory.
    • Hear the word - a regular night (that’s been going for 10 years now) for the performance of poetry, writing and songs open to all local writers, held at The Gardeners Arms, Plantation Road, Jericho.
    • Short Stories Aloud – short, often original creative work, read or performed by actors.

    Venues hosting regular literary events

    • The Albion Beatnik Bookshop - an indie bookshop in Jericho which hosts various literary events, including poetry readings and performances, storytelling, writers groups’ gatherings, and comic, journal and magazine launches.
    • North Wall Arts Centre - a theatre and exhibition space which occasionally features performance poetry and storytelling.
    • The Story Museum – a treasure trove of creativity, tucked away in central Oxford, devoted to children’s fiction. Hosts with regular literary events, including author lectures.
    • Modern Art Oxford - the Basement Gigs at this venue often include nights of performance poetry, multimodal literary performances, storytelling and more.
    • Blackwells - the Broad Street branch of this bookselling chain occasionally includes evenings of live performance poetry and spoken word within its literary event schedule.
    • Pegasus Theatre – a lively theatre on Magdalen Road hosting a variety of plays.
    • The Duke’s Cut - a pub in central Oxford hosting poetry nights featuring the work of the Oxford University Poetry Society. You can find more details of Oxford (University) Poetry Society’s activities here.
    • Burton Taylor Studio – a small theatre near Gloucester Green offering innovative new plays.

    Reading groups

    Writer’s groups

    • Oxwords Oxford
    • Jericho Poets
    • Oxford Creative Writers
    • Freehand - a writers’ group that meets monthly in Oxford.
    • Stanzas 1 & 2 - two poetry writing groups made up of members of the Poetry Society. Stanza 2 also has its own site.
    • Back Room Poets
    • Oxford Poetry Society - the Oxford University poetry society, which runs frequent events and readings with local and internationally-renowned poets. The society can also be found on Facebook.

    Literary and creative festivals

    Oxford’s literary heritage

    • The Inklings – a group of writers, led by Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, who met and shared their work at various places in Oxford, not least the pub The Eagle and Child.
    • ‘Alice day’ – a day of events to celebrate Lewis Carroll‘s Alice!
    • The Bodleian Library – one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful libraries.