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Witney Book Festival

PUBLISHED: 17:06 08 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:31 20 February 2013

The Fleece, Witney, Oxfordshire.

The Fleece, Witney, Oxfordshire.

Local author Jo Eames celebrates an honourable tradition for the Witney Book Festival with an invitation to the pub

Witney Book Festival

Local author Jo Eames celebrates an honourable tradition for the Witney Book Festival with an invitation to the pub

Oxfordshire author Jo Eames plans to mark the first ever Witney Book Festival and celebrate the time-honoured affinity between writers and pubs by welcoming guests into her pub for a series of readings and literary events throughout the three day festival (June 16-18). Jo will also be sharing pages from her own novel, The Faithless Wife, published in Oxfordshire almost a year ago to the day, with Spanish wine and tapas at the pub in the evening of Friday, June 17, a fitting way to mark the fact that sales of the book have already raised £2,000 for Cancer Research UK.  

The Deddington-based author, who as well as writing is also wine-buyer and co-owner of The Fleece in Witney, a Peach pub, firmly believes that pubs are the ideal places for hosting reading groups. 

For the last year Jo has been working with the team at The Fleece to encourage guests to hold their book clubs in the pub, offering a quiet corner and a welcome glass of wine to anyone who wanted to set up a new group.  With two groups of avid readers meeting every month in the pub, and more people joining all the time, getting involved with the town’s first ever book festival was an easy decision.

“We think pubs are the perfect places for books and reading and are putting our support fully behind the festival,” says Jo. “The Fleece in fact has its own, long-established link with literature - Dylan Thomas regularly drank here when he was living in nearby South Leigh. So, as well as hosting the opening event at the pub, we’re also welcoming several other authors in to talk about their work and I’m pleased to be in that line-up.

“My first novel is set on the island of Menorca so we’re having a wonderful Spanish-themed event with wine and tapas in the pub, with excerpts from the story,” she adds.  “When it was published last year, I pledged to donate £1 for every copy sold to Cancer Research UK and last week was delighted to be able to send the charity a donation of £2,000.  Thanks to everybody who has bought and read the book so far, for making that donation possible.  If you carry on buying and reading, I will carry on giving!"

The book, The Faithless Wife, is about a woman who is running away. A chance encounter in Menorca enmeshes her in a web of island secrets that have endured since the Spanish Civil War, warping three generations.  She becomes the catalyst for breaking a 60-year ‘pact of forgetting’ - until the only secret left is her own.

The Fleece is also playing host to a number of other literary events throughout the festival including:

  • Thursday, June 16, 5pm -  official festival launch (press passes available on request from the festival organisers)
  • Saturday, June 18, 10-11.30am – workshop on blogging and social media for writers by blogger Emily Carlisle
  • Sunday, June 19, 11am – talk on plot and structure by author Juliet McKenna
  • Sunday, June 19, 2pm – talk on how not to get published by writer Ben Jeapes

As well as being a great place to soak up some culture this month, The Fleece is also the perfect spot for enjoying a bite to eat while you take in the view over Witney’s beautiful Church Green.

The pub has just started serving its new summer menu with some lovely dishes for the season, including free-range chicken and summer vegetable terrine with apricot chutney, chilli and lime-spiked fishcake with summer salsa and baby leaf salad and whole South coast lemon sole with new potatoes and salsa verde. 

Jo’s Spanish evening takes place at The Fleece between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday, June 17 and tickets cost £10 for wine, tapas and a £3 discount on her novel The Faithless Wife. To book for this event or for a meal at The Fleece, please contact the pub on 01993 892270 or by email The Fleece is at 11 Church Green, Witney, Oxon, OX28 4AZ.

More information about the Witney Book Festival is on


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