5th April 2017 starting at 7.30pm- Chaucer Night

Who Is Graham Fawcett and what is Chaucer Night?

Graham Fawcett has made many programmes on literature and music for BBC Radio 3 as writer, presenter and interviewer, and he lectures on poetry in the UK, Italy, Spain and America.  For the last five years, he has been presenting his two series of lecture-performances-with-readings, Seven Olympians and World Poets, in art galleries, bookshops, pubs, hotels, retreat centres, and houses across England.  His Chaucer Nights are part of his Seven Olympians series.

Graham studied Classics at Christ's Hospital and went on to read Archaeology & Anthropology and English at Cambridge. He has worked for many cultural organisations such as Southern Arts, the British Institute of Florence, the Arvon Foundation, BBC Radios 3, 4, World Service and Italian Service, Art History Abroad, and TheCourse Studies.  Having lived in Italy and in French Catalonia, he now resides in London.

Graham worked for The Poetry School in London for 17 years, devising and teaching poetry courses and what he calls “on-location days” (among them Blake in SussexHardy in Dorset and Eliot in East Coker, Little Gidding and Burnt Norton) which are designed, as is his ongoing work, to encourage the reading of poetry past and present from around the world.  He has also appeared at many British poetry and literary festivals.

One audience member at a previous Chaucer Night performance in Oxford noted,

"How much I enjoyed the Chaucer evening!  My knowledge of Chaucer was minimal, but your talk has made me really interested, and I feel equipped now to begin reading Chaucer myself.  You effectively shone a light across a dark land and I now have the paths mapped out, so I can - and want to - explore what was a hidden continent before.  I really want more people to hear you and learn more of the wonderful rich literary heritage we all share!" 

while a blind member of the audience at Lyme ArtsFest wrote,

"A voice you could eat with a spoon!  Wonderful!  I loved him reading: I came specially..."      

We are fortunate to have Graham with us for one night on 5th April, but we hope this may be the first of many collaborations between him and The Topsham Bookshop.  For Chaucer Night tickets (which are £12 each) please contact Lily Neal on 01392-877895 or email her at

29th March 2017 - 

On Wednesday 29th March 2017, 6.30-8pm, Anne Glyn-Jones, well-known elderly resident of Halyards, will visit the bookshop to launch her new book Morse Code Wrens of Station X
Anyone interested in wartime intelligence and how it was transmitted to Bletchley Park for decoding will enjoy this book and be fascinated to hear Anne talk about the drama and fun of women’s life in the Royal Navy in the 1940s and beyond.  
There is no charge but space is limited, so please contact Lily Neal at The Topsham Bookshop or on 01392-877895 to reserve tickets.

22 March 2017 - 
On the evening of 22nd March 2017, Topsham Bookshop gladly opened its doors to welcome visitors attending the launch in the South West of Pippa Kelly’s excellent first novel, Invisible Ink.  Pippa has been writing all her working life but this is a new departure into the world of the novelist.

Around 30 people gathered to hear Pippa speak very movingly of the emotional circumstances of her own mother’s loss to dementia, which partly inspired her novel. 

The book itself was written during the period of her mother’s illness and Pippa revealed that on re-reading the manuscript she was struck by the extent to which her own emotions were reflected in it.  She wrote the book with a male voice to ‘protect’ herself but those feelings were still there.  Interestingly, the story had undergone many drafts and Pippa had consulted two mentors to bring it to its final published version.

It was one of these mentors who encouraged Pippa to increase the variety and pace of her story – and suggested that the central character, Max, speak with both his adult and childhood voice.  Max is forced to reflect on the long buried childhood experience of the birth and then loss of his baby brother, the angelic Peter.  Pippa has a rare gift in capturing his childhood thoughts and responses and the guilt he feels in relation to his brother.

That guilt follows Max through his life and Pippa explained that behind all of us there is, written in invisible ink as it were, a tail (and a tale) that informs who we are, and how the loss of her mother’s memory of her life (her tale), caused particular distress both to her mother and then to Pippa too.

Pippa ended her talk with an impassioned plea for further understanding, recognition and research into dementia, which affects so many of us.  She paid tribute to the work of Sallie Rutledge of The Mede in Topsham – a holiday ‘home from home’, providing respite care and day care for those with dementia with or without their carers.

You can find out more about Pippa from her website: and follow her on Twitter @piponthecommons.
The Mede can be contacted through its website:

All of those at Topsham Bookshop thank Pippa for visiting us from London and Sallie at the Mede for contributing to the success of the evening.

21st February 2017 - Great Western Railway have hidden hundreds of tickets in books around the country in order to help people escape with their book on a city break through the South West of England. When people find the tickets, they can redeem them for a free return journey to any destination Great Western Railway travels to. The tickets will be hidden for the next five weeks.
The scheme was launched on Tuesday 21st February and Topsham bookshop is participating.
Another great reason to come in to see us! 
Update: 10th March 2017 - all the tickets have been found!

21st January 2013
Sophie: An Edwardian Childhood

by Sophie Leighton Harding

What was it like to be the daughter of a famous painter in Edwardian times?
In this vivid and funny book, Sophie describes what it was like to grow up in London from 1902 to 1918 with a famous painter father, Edmund Blair Leighton. She gives many details of everyday life in the period, and her engaging account is illustrated with her own vibrant watercolours and witty line drawings. Family photographs by Edmund Leighton himself also feature. Suitable for readers of ten upwards.

Musisca Publishing, 2013: hardback, 6"x9", 130 pages.
The book costs £12.99 plus p&p (UK £2.00; Europe £5.50; overseas air £8.60; overseas surface £4.86).
For further information, or to order copies, write to or e-mail Lily Neal at The Topsham Bookshop, 27 Fore Street, Topsham, Exeter, Devon, EX3 0HD ( / 0044 (0)1392 877895)

See Musisca Publishing for sample images.

Twelve Topsham Riddles

See Riddle-Me-Ree! for details of Alma Swan's book of Topsham riddles.

18th October 2012: Book Launch
'Tell My Mother I'm Not Dead'
What would you do if your 28-year-old son were suddenly killed in a car crash? Any of us would suffer enormous grief and shock. Some people, not wanting to believe in the total disappearance of the human personality after death, might be tempted to try and contact their lost son through a professional medium. This is what happened to Trevor Hamilton, a historian, academic and writer, but he took the business of contacting mediums one stage further by making a careful study of their statements and writing a book about the whole experience. Deeply moving but objective, it is a detailed account of his visits to ten different mediums and the way in which he set his own experience against classic cases and current academic findings about mediumship.

The Topsham Bookshop is very lucky to be able to host the local launch of Trevor's book Tell My Mother I'm Not Dead on Thursday 18th October at 6.30pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Lily Neal on 01392-877895 or send her an e-mail at You are very welcome to attend, but because of our limited space we need to know numbers.

Tell My Mother I'm Not Dead: A Case Study in Mediumship Research, by Trevor Hamilton, was published on October 1st by Imprint Academic, 190pp., £8.95 / $17.90, ISBN 9781845402600. It can be purchased either at the launch or from; it will be on Amazon later.

 9th May 2012
Topsham: A Framework for a Local Plan
We have in stock copies of Topsham: A Framework for a Local Plan, the 2012 update on the Topsham Society's townscape review and design statement for Topsham. 39-page A4 booklet: £5.00.

22nd February 2012
Exeter Air Raid Victims, 1940-43
We have in stock the latest publication from Precious Moments of Exeter: Exeter Air Raid Victims, 1940-43 by Christine Trigger. It is published to mark the 70th anniversary of the Blitz on Exeter on 4th May 1942. The A4-format books contains a general introduction on the "Baedeker Raids" (that targeted historic English cities in retaliation for the destruction of Lübeck), an account of the Exeter casualties and the aftermath, and an alphabetical listing of detailed information for each victim, referenced to the locations in Exeter's Higher and Exwick cemeteries where they were buried.  Exeter Air Raid Victims, 1940-43 is available from us for £7.99. See Precious Moments of Exeter for other titles.

15th February 2012
Simple pleasures
Our current window display is our Simple Pleasures Comparison Chart, rating various activities on a cost-per-duration basis. An as-new paperback from The Topsham Bookshop - £3.00 for 300 minutes - is at the top!

11th January 2012
Estuary Magazine

We are now stocking Topsham's parish magazine, Estuary Magazine. 60p.

17th December 2011:
Big Art Book Bonanza!
If you fall in love with any of the paperback art books now on display in the front of shop, make us an offer. Be inventive! Be bold!

14th December 2011
We have just taken delivery of a batch of the newly-published Education in Exeter by Christine Trigger, Volume 8 in the Postcards from Exeter series published by Precious Moments. This volume focuses on historical postcards of Exeter schools and colleges.

3rd December 2011
Here's our current flyer. We are looking for books: not just crime, but any good-quality paperback fiction in good condition, including Penguins and children's Puffins.

Update, 16th November 2011
If you reached us by a Google search, we apologise for any confusion over the contact details. While we are making every effort to contact the major human-run and editable listings to get their details changed, the web has a huge number of automated directories largely out of our control and too numerous to contact individually, so it will take a while for the changes to propagate across the Internet.

Announcement: 1st November 2011
From 1st November 2011, this shop is no longer operating under the name of "Joel Segal Books". Joel Segal and Lily Neal have agreed amicably to terminate their partnership.

The shop is now called The Topsham Bookshop and will be owned and managed by Lily Neal. The new website is, but the telephone number will remain the same (01392-877895).

Joel Segal will continue to trade under the name of Joel Segal Books and will be operating from The Cafe, 76 Fore Street, Topsham, and other Exeter cafes.  He can be contacted on 07790-906118, or via his website