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On Monday 9th March, Oxfam Books, Petergate, invites you to come and discover the fascinating history of book covers, in a lecture given by shop manager, John McKay, in the beautiful buildings of the York Medical Society on Stonegate.

John McKay has a phD from Birkbeck College, University of London, in contemporary Scottish literature. As well as managing Oxfam Books, John teaches courses on literature for the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of York and is currently researching the relationship between book covers and their influence on reading patterns.

The twentieth century witnessed the rapid evolution of the book cover from a functional protective layer into a complex visual presentation. This lecture will attempt to provide an overview of the history of jacket design and how it has developed into a sophisticated marketing tool signposting many aspects of the enclosed text prior to reading, truly allowing you to judge the book by its cover.

Shop volunteer, Elizabeth Hatherell, says, “When you work somewhere that surrounds you with books, you suddenly begin to take more notice of them, and working with John has really opened my eyes to the importance of the book cover. This is going to be a wonderful evening for anyone who loves books and, on top of that, all the money is going to help provide books to children who really need them.”

Many of us live our lives surrounded by books and it can sometimes be easy to forget that this is a real privilege that many in the world do not have. At Oxfam Books, we feel that it is particularly important that children are given access to books and to education, which is why all proceeds from this event will be going towards buying school supplies for children who desperately need them.

This will be done through Oxfam Unwrapped, which asks for £8 to ensure that children are given everything they need to make the most out of school, and, as the UK government is currently doubling all donations given to Oxfam, with UKAid, each ticket bought will provide the full £8.

The talk will take place at the York Medical Society, at 7pm on Monday 9th March. Tickets cost £4 and include a complimentary glass of wine. They will be available to buy from Oxfam Books, Petergate, from Saturday 14th February, but there are a limited number so visit the shop soon to ensure you don’t miss out!

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