Oxfam Bookshop, Petergate York

This is the blog for the Oxfam book shop, on Low Petergate in York

Red Nose Day 2017

Make your laugh matter!

Red Nose Day is just around the corner, on the 24th of March, and we couldn’t be more excited here at Oxfam Petergate! We have red noses coming out of our ears, and they’re all in different designs! Will you get the dragon? The dog? The York Viking? Or the mystery nose? 

Comic Relief does amazing work, both here in the UK and in Africa, from providing mental health support, access to education, and provisions for clean water. This year the focus is on helping fight malaria and providing support for the victims of domestic abuse. A donation as small as a pound can go a long long way!

This year’s Red Nose Day will feature the usual amazing entertainment, from dance offs to a 24 hour lolathon on Radio 1, and of course, the much anticipated Love Actually Reunion! So don’t forget to watch on the 24th of March and get donating! And of course, remember to get your red nose from us in time!

Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

Fairtrade Fortnight began yesterday, and we couldn’t be more excited here at Oxfam Petergate. Oxfam is proud to support Fairtrade products as part of our global work to end poverty and empower people.

This year we are focusing on the importance of Fairtrade products to helping women farmers, like Augustina in Ghana. In northern Ghana, women are often excluded from the chance to earn a living simply because they’re women. Yet, due to a simple beekeeping project which heps to produce honey, the women are fighting back, through the help of Fairtrade and Oxfam. We’re working with hundreds of local women farmers, including Augustina, by providing equipment and training to turn their determination into an income by producing honey. It’s challenging the traditional views and changing lives, not just of the women themselves but of their families too. “A few years ago I was unemployed
and life was stressful,” says Augustina. “We couldn’t buy the items we needed to send our children to school, like books, pens, and school uniforms. Now the story is different.” It is amazing that something so simple can have such a wide-ranging impact.

Until the 12th of March we will be celebrating everything Fairtrade,with 20% off all of our usual food and drink in store!

Jorvik Viking Festival

Yesterday the Jorvik Viking Festival Festival began in York, which means all things Viking and Anglo-Saxon are happening here! The Jorvik Viking Festival celebrates York’s Viking heritag, and this year will be focusing on the life of Eric Bloodaxe, featuring a fiery finale which will tell the story of the Battle of Stainmore and a huge Viking feast in the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall. The festival is always great fun and certainly a sight to see, particularly during half term! To find out more about the festival click here.

Here at Oxfam Petergate, we have lots for the Viking enthusiast. As you know, we have a large collection of comics, many featuring Marvel’s Thor, who of course is based on the Norse God of Thunder. We have lots of hidden gems and rare finds in our comic section, so it is worth looking around to find that one comic missing from your collection, or for those who just want to read some of the original comics. Perfect entertainment for half term. And for those truly dedicated fans, we have lots of prints from DC Comics and Marvel, including a spectacular one featuring Thor himself!

For those who prefer Viking history we have several books all about this period, such as Michael Wood’s In Search of the Dark Ages, the book accompaniment to his highly popular BBC TV series. An immensely popular book, Wood unravels various mysteries of this period to get to the heart of Dark Age Britain. We also have the 2014 and 2015 Antiquaries Journals from the Society of Antiquaries of London, which feature various discussions of interesting finds and an article on Hardown Hill, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery.

So whether you’ve a Marvel fan or the festival inspires you to find out more, we are ready for all you Vikings, and have a good festival!

Water For All Campaign

It’s all too easy to forget what a miracle water is. With a water supply on tap, food can grow, and people can thrive.

If you have been about on Petergate in York and seen our wonderful window display, or seen our Facebook page or Twitter account, then you probably already know that we are currently fundraising for Water For All. Why? Because water is pretty incredible, even if we don’t always like it here in rainy old York. Oxfam’s work to provide clean, safe water helps to reduce child mortality rates, create healthier communities and provide essential facilities in emergencies. But providing water isn’t just about the short term, and the benefits don’t end with the clean water. With access to safe water people can start to grow food to eat and to sell, creating jobs and businesses, which builds an economy, leading to resources like schools and healthcare becoming more viable, and allows the whole community to move forward and build better lives for themselves. All this, from one well! Stories like Ipaishe’s (click here) and Brian’s (click here) shows the wider effects that Oxfam’s provision of water has, even allowing Ipaishe to own land for the first time.


There are loads of ways you can help! Come into the shop to buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift, donate or, even better, help us fundraise. We have loads of information in store about how you can help fundraise, whether its by organising a bake sale, doing a sponsored swim or getting yourself soaked in exchange for donations. Feel free to come visit us for more information about what you can do to help provide the miracle of water!

Love is in the Air…

Here at Oxfam Petergate we are all swooning over our Valentine’s Blind Date with a Book event. What’s that I hear you say? Well for just £2 you can find that special one, that new literary friend, and fall in love with one of these mystery books:

We have wrapped up some of our books in plain paper, with a few little clues written on them. So whether you like the tall, dark and mysterious, or you’re more of a fan of a flirty little romance novel, there’s sure to be something amongst our blind date hopefuls who’s right for you. 

And if none of them catch your fancy, then don’t despair. We have delicious Divine chocolate hearts, Valentine’s cards and, the perfect Valentine’s gift, our unwrapped cards, which help to provide everything from bees to seeds to water to education! So come into the shop for all your Valentine’s needs (or if you just really fancy some fairtrade chocolate and a good book).

Our blind date with a book event will be running from the 11th to the 14th of February, but be quick! We only have a limited number of books (but if you do miss out or don’t see one that piques your interest then feel free to check out all the other wonderful books we have in store). See you soon!

Davos Conference 2017: Wealth Inequality in the Modern World

great-britain_image_1496_fullLast week the world’s entrepreneurs, banking executives and world leaders met in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. Important issues were discussed, from Brexit to climate change and wealth inequality. Now you’ve probably seen the headlines that just 8 men own half of the world’s wealth. Yes, that’s right. 8 people have the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people! 1% to the rest of the 99%.

This seems pretty difficult to comprehend, even in the strange times of 2017, so let’s discuss exactly what this signifies. It is not merely an inequality in the distribution of wealth, but the knock on effects that come from efforts to maintain this wealth. From tax dodging and hideaway havens, to paying unfair wages, to using economic and political influences, such as at the WEF, these billionaires contribute to an unfair and broken economic system that perpetuates this unfair and illogical distribution of wealth. This doesn’t just mean the rich and the poor, but the super rich and the cripplingly impoverished. Forget deciding whether to splash out on a £3 coffee or not, this is a system where people live on less than that a day! And this is wrong and completely nonsensical, especially now, and especially because it will not take much to create a better world that can provide a sustainable economic future for everyone. For the 99% who own the other half of the world’s wealth. For those who go to bed hungry whilst others have a wealth that will take several lifetimes to spend

What is required is common sense, responsible leadership and tax honesty, to help create a world which can serve the interests of everyone, allow people to flourish with their talents, earn a decent wage, gain a great education. Oxfam aims to help create this world by improving government co-operation in tackling tax dodging and tax havens, so that the super rich do pay a fair amount of tax, increase the rights of workers to benefit the wider society, and fight for women’s rights and education. It is not just about philanthropy and charitable giving, it is about creating a sustainable economic future by tackling this warped and broken economic model which allows for unfair economic practices like tax dodging and low wages. We can easily do this if those who perpetuate this broken system accept responsibility and work to fix it, using their power and political influence. Our role, as the not-super rich is to help make this happen through action.

That is why Oxfam is campaigning for an economy that works for everyone, by calling on business leaders to help create this economy through fair taxation, fair pay, ethical investment and the use of political power and influence to help everyone. If you would like more information it is available here. Oxfam has also set up a petition to the world’s richest 8 to mend this broken system, which can be found here.

A better, fairer world is possible. All it takes is common sense and a clear moral sense of equality.

In Store Book of the Week: The Business by Iain Banks

The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn’t. 

This week our glass cabinet has been restocked, and features railways books and a directory of York from 1957, full of cool adverts. It also had, until yesterday, two signed Iain Banks novels, The Business and Against a Dark Background. Against a Dark Background has now been sold, which is fantastic as it has helped to provide clean water for 120 people!! So a huge thank you to the proud new owner.

We do still have The Business which is also a signed first edition! Delve into the world of The Business, an ancient and powerful multinational corporation, and follow Kate Thelman as she investigates theft and oversees the acquisition of a country. A combined love story, contemporary science fiction masterpiece and tale of discovery, this novel travels the world and explores issues central to modern life, from technology to the relationship between business and politics (perhaps particularly relevant in the wake of the Davos Conference).

The Business is in the Petergate store and on sale for £70 (that’s equal to giving 70 people clean water).

Online Book of the Week: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

The trouble is, you see, that if you do know Right from Wrong, you can’t choose Wrong. You just can’t do it and live.

To celebrate our growing sci-fi, fantasy and horror section in store (two whole bookcases now!) our online book this week is this gorgeous edition of Maskerade by the late and great Terry Pratchett! Pratchett is one of the most popular fantasy writers due to his wit, creativity and incredibly insightful writing which spans 41 Discworld novels, as well as other works. He has received a knighthood for his services to literature, has sold over 85 million books, was a public speaker on Alzheimers (a disease he suffered from until his death in 2015) and remains a bestseller in the UK.

We return to Discworld in this stunning hardback edition, complete with a colour map of Pratchett’s hilarious, satirical fantasy world for another tale of the Witches, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. Whilst the previous stories of the Witches has spoofed Shakespeare, Maskerade takes on The Phantom of the Opera, featuring everything from Nanny Ogg’s favourite recipes and scenes reminiscent of Scooby Doo. And if you want to get really meta, Maskerade was even adapted into a stage production (that’s a stage production of a book which satirises a musical which is all about the world of opera!)

Not only is this hardback edition beautifully bound, but it is in excellent condition and a steal for just £22! Get it here.

12th day of Oxmas: Africa by Michael Poliza

This post is part of the Twelve Days of Oxmas series which will run from the 1st to the 21st of December 2016. The series showcases some of the many Oxfam Unwrapped gifts, fair-trade products and books we have to offer in store and online. 

♪  ♫  

On the twelfth day of Oxmas my true love sent to me 

twelve photographs of Africa… 

♪  ♫   ♪


On our last day of Oxmas, we want to show you another wonderful treasure that you can find on our Abebooks!

This gift is large format photograph book by German photographer Michael Poliza. It contains many gorgeous pictures taken by the artist in Africa, including landscapes, individual animal portraits, animals taking care of their young ones, birds in flight, huge herds in movement and other breathtaking, poetic and heartwarming  photographs that show how truly amazing nature can be.


According to the editor:

These images embody the soul of Africa’s flora and fauna with a true artist’s eye for colour and composition.


Africa is a source of amazing bio-diversity and home to some of the planet’s most spectacular landscapes. The sights of this awe-inspiring continent are captured with consummate skill and sensitivity by master photographer Michael Poliza. His viewpoint is shaped by his concern for the fragile eco-systems he chronicles.

The editor


This is the perfect gift for photography enthusiasts or nature lovers. The pictures shown are only a few examples of how beautiful the pages of this book are.


Poliza started as a child actor on German TV, then founded several highly successful IT ventures in the US and Germany and became a pioneer in the use of digital photography for illustrated books. His STARSHIP MILLENNIUM VOYAGE, around the world on a 75 ft yacht for three years was avidly followed by millions via internet. Poliza now focuses mainly on film and photography, including work for the Discovery Channel. He is now based in Cape Town.

Michael Poliza. Source: Globetrotter magazin, September 2011

To buy this book just click here!

Or browse all of our online books:

♪  ♫  

…Eleven bags of Beer Bread flour,
Safe water for ten people,
Nine copies of Playing for Pizza,
Eight Lands of Ice and Fire maps,
Seven Grow Your Own Trees,
Six copies of The Silkworm,
Five golden Piles of Poo!
Four Chalet School books,
Three pots of Swazi preserves,
Two Red Phone Box Books,
And a Winter Warming Kit for the refugees.

♪  ♫  

This was our last days of Oxmas blog post. We hope you’ve liked them and that they have helped you find Christmas presents or get an idea of what we sell at Oxfam Books Petergate!

Have a very merry Christmas and keep reading our blog for new exciting posts!

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