Short Stories Aloud - David Constantine and Anna Hope at Blackwell's Oxford

26 Nov 2019 - 6.45PM

Short Stories Aloud - The most fun you can have in a bookshop on a Tuesday night.

About this Event

Listen to actors read short stories read by our guest authors. This month we are joined by David Constantine, author of 'The Dressing-Up Box', and Anna Hope, 'Expectation' . After hearing short stories (and eating some cake) there will be questions from Sarah Franklin, author of 'Shelter', and the audience. Join us for a wonderful evening, not to be missed.

The Dressing-Up Box by David Constantine

Against the backdrop of war, a group of children barricade themselves in an abandoned townhouse, cherishing what’s left of their innocence with the help of a dressing-up box...

A deep-sea diver takes to being suspended for hours at a time on the end of a line not long enough to reach the seabed...

An aging widower moves into the shed at the end of his garden to plan out his ‘endgame’ surrounded by a lifetime’s worth of hoarded curiosities...

The characters in David Constantine’s fifth collection are all in pursuit of sanctuary; the violence and mendacity of the outside world presses in from all sides – be it the ritualised brutality suffered by children at a Catholic orphanage, or the harrowing videos shared among refugees of an atrocity ‘back home’. In each case, the characters withdraw into themselves, sometimes abandoning language altogether, until something breaks and they can retreat no further. In Constantine’s luminous prose, these stories capture such moments in all their clarity; moments when an entire life seems to hang in the balance, the past’s betrayals exposed, its ghosts dragged out into the daylight; moments in which the possibility of defiance and redemption is everything.

David Constantine has published several volumes of poetry, and two novels (most recently The Life-Writer) as well as four previous short story collections: Back at the Spike (1994), the highly acclaimed Under the Dam (2005), The Shieling (2009) and Tea at the Midland (2012), which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2013. David’s story ‘Tea at the Midland’ won the 2010 National Short Story Award, and his story ‘In Another Country’ was adapted into 45 Years – an Oscar-nominated film, directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. With his wife Helen, David edited Modern Poetry in Translation for many years. He is also translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet.

Expectation by Anna Hope

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year, 'Expectation' is a novel about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel.

Anna Hope studied at Oxford University and RADA. She is the internationally prizewinning and bestselling author of 'Wake' and 'The Ballroom'. Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation.

Tickets for this event cost £5. Eventbrite HERE.

Doors will open at 6.45pm for a 7pm start, and there will be a small bar available to purchase drinks.

For more information, please contact our customer service desk on 01865 333 623 or email

Tue 26th November