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Literary types come out to support Oxfam Bookfest

Rare 1st ed. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, signed
by the author “ like magic, a new school “ £9,000.

No, it’s not an ad on eBay: those are lines from U.K. poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Oxfam,” written as part of the kick-off for Oxfam’s inaugural Bookfest, which runs from July 4 “ 18. Over 250 events are scheduled at Oxfam stores throughout the U.K. as part of the festival, which raises money to fight global poverty.

In conjunction with the festival, which also includes readings and book signings, literary figures such as Monica Ali, Joanna Trollope, Esther Freud, and Jonathan Coe have volunteered to work in various Oxfam Bookstores, behind the till or stocking the shelves. Trollope, who was found sorting the literature shelves in Oxfam’s store on Marleybone High Street in London, is quoted in the Guardian as saying the store was “heaving.” While this description might bring to mind Melville’s Pequod or an unfortunate drunkard on a three-day bender, it is nice to hear that the event appears to be a success.

From the Guardian:

“Book sales have been helping us in our fight against poverty for more than 50 years, as we’ve sold everything from the first ever Sherlock Holmes story to the latest Harry Potter novel,” said David McCullough, Oxfam’s director of trading. “During Bookfest, we want people to donate to and buy from our bookshops so they can really see the impact that buying a book from Oxfam can have on the lives of poor people around the world.”