Curl up with a good book this winter

24 November 2020

Looking for a good read over the winter holiday period? Or presents for the book lovers in your life?

We’ve put together an Oxford Brookes themed collection for you to browse. Covering fiction, factual writing and poetry written by Brookes alumni, staff and honorary graduates – as well as the winners of this year’s Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition – there’s something for everyone.


Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson (alumna)

Eve has departed from her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit. Sally has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children. And Anastasia is a defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, suddenly vulnerable as she awaits a life-saving operation.

Together, they embark upon a journey through the canals of England.

Find Anne’s Costa Prize short listed novel, Meet Me at the Museum, in the Library.

Skin by Liam Brown (alumnus)

A strange virus is sweeping the globe. Humans have become allergic to one another. Simply standing next to somebody could be a death sentence. A kiss could be fatal.

A spookily prescient thriller, Skin was shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize in 2019.

Supporting Cast by Kit de Waal (alumna)

Supporting Cast captures the extraordinary moments in our ordinary lives, and the darkness and the joy of the everyday.

A collection of vivid short stories of thwarted desire, love and loss - told with power, precision, humanity and insight.

Find Kit’s Times and International Bestselling novel, My Name is Leon, in the Library.

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (honorary graduate)

The latest in The Book of Dust Trilogy featuring Lyra Silvertongue, a student in Oxford, and her daemon, Pantalaimon.

Find Philip’s books in the Library.

The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen (alumna)

If 14-year-old Malin was God for a day, she wouldn't change much. Because stuff's okay, mostly.

And if He could fix the world, wouldn't God have done it already?

Find in the Library

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson (alumna)

It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.

A long lost friendship reconnected in letters, laughs and unforgettable life lessons.

Half Broken Things by Morag Joss (Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing)

A gripping tale of psychological suspense, Half Broken Things is a novel that peers into the lives of three dangerously lost people and the ominous haven they find when they find each other.

Winner of the Crime Writers Association Silver Dagger Award.

Morag is also the author of the Sara Selkirk Mysteries.


Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (honorary graduate)

Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives confronts issues of race and class.

Shortlisted for The James Tait Black Prize, The Jhalak Prize, The Bread And Roses Award and longlisted for the Orwell Prize For Political Writing.

Find in the Library

The Shortest History of England by James Hawes (Reader in Creative Writing)

This title journeys from Caesar to Brexit via conquest, Empire and World War to discover an England very different to the standard vision - all in under 300 pages.

“James Hawes's view of English history is sharp and vivid and extremely persuasive.” - Philip Pullman

View eBook in the Library

How to be a Failure and Still Live Well: A Philosophy by Beverley Clack (Professor in the Philosophy of Religion)

How to be a Failure and Still Live Well explores the often neglected theme of failure, not just as the opposite of achievement, but also, and more importantly, how it has been conflated with loss.

Relationships, spontaneity, and generosity are explored as qualities that arise from taking seriously our vulnerability and form the basis for richer accounts of what it might mean to 'live well'.

Find in the Library

Puccini's La Bohème by Alexandra Wilson (Professor of Music and Cultural History)

Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. But how did it come to be so adored?

This cultural history offers a fresh reading of a familiar work. Alexandra’s analysis of the opera's depiction of Paris reveals that La Bohème was not only influenced by the romantic mythologies surrounding the city to this day but also helped shape them.

Experiencing Oxford by Ian Davis (retired Professor in Architecture)

Celebrating the way Oxford can be experienced using our senses, memories, emotions and spirits. Includes over a hundred of the author’s drawings and watercolours as well as hundreds of photographs he took of Oxford’s buildings and landscapes.

A beautiful present for anyone who’s been unable to visit Oxford recently.

Isolarion - A Different Oxford Journey by James Attlee (alumnus)

If you'd rather read about the Oxford that most tourists don't see then this exploration of Cowley Road should be right up your, er, street.

"Attlee paints an iridescent picture of a new Oxford that no guide book has yet captured." - New York Times

View eBook in the Library


Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing)

Flèche (the French word for 'arrow') is an offensive technique commonly used in fencing. This cross-linguistic pun presents the queer, non-white body as both vulnerable ('flesh') and weaponised ('Flèche'), and evokes the difficulties of reconciling one's need for safety alongside the desire to shed one's protective armour in order to fully embrace the world.

Recommended by the Poetry Book Society and winner of the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry.

Find in the Library

Grief is a Man with Many Gifts by Onyekachi Iloh

Winner of the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2020 (English as an Additional Language category).

Appetit, for Persephone by Katie Byford

Winner of the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2020 (open category).

Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre (based in the School of English and Modern Languages) hosts a poetry press, ignitionpress, which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. Find out more.