Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Accept

Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax launch Oxfam’s biggest ever call for book donations with a Great British tea party

6th Jun 2012

King and Queen of comedy, Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax, celebrated the launch of Oxfam's biggest ever call for book donations with a Great British tea party at Hay Festival today. With book donations to Oxfam shops down, the charity is asking the nation to donate more than half a million additional books to raise money for Oxfam's vital work fighting global poverty. The appeal will run until 21 June and the public can donate their books to of all Oxfam's shops throughout the UK including its 148 specialist bookshops.

Stephen Fry said: "It's really important to look at your bookshelves and find some books that you think you can live without to donate to Oxfam. Books are a wonderful gift because you're giving something that is brim-full of ideas and stories while also supporting the valuable work that Oxfam is doing around the world. Apart from anything else you'll clear your shelves for more books!"

Andrew Horton, Oxfam's Director of Trading said: "Our shops are reporting that stock levels and book donations this year are down, and we need your help so we can continue to raise money selling books across the UK. We all own books which sit un-read on our bookshelves and, by donating just a few of them to Oxfam, people can make a real difference to the lives of those living in poverty around the world. If we reach our target of 500,000 additional books we could raise enough money to fund all of Oxfam's work in Rwanda for a year."

Thanks to the thousands of book donations made daily across the country, Oxfam shops are the only place on the high street where you can pick up anything from the latest best-selling novel through to rare first editions and hidden treasures hundreds of years old. Unsold books are redistributed across the Oxfam shop network. Any books that can't be sold are recycled or even made into cardboard boxes. Every single book, whether it is donated or bought, helps to support Oxfam's vital work.

For more information go to  


For media enquiries please contact Sophie Bowell in the Oxfam Press Office on 07810 814 980 /

Notes to editors:



  • Oxfam has 148 specialist bookshops and sells books in nearly all of its 685 shops
  • Oxfam's shop network is supported by over 22,000 volunteers, with over 4000 specialist book volunteers staffing Oxfam's bookshops
  • One paperback sold by Oxfam could buy two books for a school in Somaliland and just £1.75 could buy books and pens for a school in the Philippines
  • The first Oxfam bookshop was opened in St Giles, Oxford, in 1987
  • For the fourth year running, Oxfam are hosting a bookshop at Hay Festival bursting with brilliant books for everyone
  • Oxfam are also asking festival-goers to donate books for the nationwide Donation Drive. Customers that bring along a bag of books to donate to the Oxfam Bookshop at Hay Festival will receive a free ticket for the speaker events (subject to availability)
  • Author Nick Harkaway was also announced as the Oxfam Emerging Writer of the Year at Hay Festival today and was presented with the award by Oxfam's CEO, Barbara Stocking
  • The appeal for book donations will be followed later in July by Oxfam's Bookfest (2-15 July 2012). Bookfest is an annual initiative, now in its fourth year, which celebrates the central role books play in people's lives, and the impact that buying a book from Oxfam can have on the lives of people living in poverty around the world. Over the course of a fortnight, a whole host of book related events will take place in Oxfam shops across the UK, featuring a range of activities for the whole family.
  • Oxfam's work in Rwanda focuses on improving small-scale farmers' livelihoods and helping women to earn a better living through their businesses.


About Oxfam

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty and suffering.  Since its Oxford-based beginnings in 1942, it has grown into a worldwide force.  Oxfam is now working in nearly 60 countries on a diverse range of projects, from providing emergency water sources to supporting community health projects.

Oxfam GB is affiliated to Oxfam International, a global confederation of 15 independent Oxfams which share the same purpose.