Welcome to Coles Books, Oxfordshire

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
To protect our colleagues & customers, and to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the book shop in Bicester is closed to visitors.
However, with the magnificent support of Royal Mail & APC Overnight, the Coles Books website is still operating and shipping books.
There are only two of us working at present (the husband & wife owners) so please bear with us if we're a little slower than normal.

Royal Mail & APC Overnight statements can be found in our Shipping & Delivery page

Erwin James @ Akeley Wood Senior School - Friday 11th March 2016 @ 11.30am

More Views

Erwin James @ Akeley Wood Senior School - Friday 11th March 2016 @ 11.30am
Product Ref. ErwinJames-AWS

Availability: Out of stock

Talk, Q&A session and book signing to celebrate the launch of Erwin's memoir, 'Redeemable'.
Students and student parents can use this page to pre-order and pay for a hardback copy of Erwin's book at the discounted price of £10. Your book will be at the school for the event - just come to the Cole's Books table and we'll hand over your book. Erwin will be delighted to sign copies of his book on the day.



Erwin James - Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope

Cole's Books of Bicester is delighted to bring Erwin James to Akeley Wood Senior School on Friday 11th March @ 11.30am for a talk, Q&A session and book signing for 6th Form Students. The visit is to celebrate the launch of Erwin's memoir, 'Redeemable'.

'The Sixth Form at Akeley Wood Senior School are delighted to host former offender and accomplished author Erwin James, on the 11th March. Erwin will be sharing his experiences with the students, from his role as a Guardian journalist to his life inside the British Penal System'.
Mr H Wilson.
Deputy Head of Sixth Form
Akeley Wood Senior School 

Students and student parents can use this page to pre-order and pay for a hardback copy of Erwin's book at the discounted price of £10. Erwin will be delighted to sign copies of his book on the day. Books can also be purchased at the school on the day.

A little about Erwin James:

Born in Somerset in 1957 to itinerant Scottish parents, Erwin James lost his mother when he was seven. Shipped from home to home and subject to the whims of various caregivers after his father turned to alcohol and violence, he committed his first crime of breaking and entering when he was ten. His teenage and early adult years were spent drifting, and his petty crime turned increasingly violent, culminating in the terrible events for which he was jailed for life in 1984.

Entering prison at 27, James struggled to come to terms with the enormity of his crimes and a future without purpose or hope. Then he met Joan, a prison psychologist, who helped him to confront the painful truth of his past, and to understand how it had shaped him from such a young age. Her sessions transformed his life. Encouraged to read and to educate himself, over the next twenty years Erwin James would go on to receive a BA in History, and become a regular columnist for the Guardian.

Speaking to the very heart of the human condition, this is a book that offers no excuses – only the need to understand how we become who we become, and shows that no matter how far a person may fall, redemption is possible with the right kind of help. It is an important and timely memoir.


A Note from Nigel - Co-Owner of Cole's Books

Last summer I found myself in a maximum security prison. I was a guest of a literacy charity, and it was only for an evening – but an evening which will stay with me for many years. The Literacy Trust (amongst others) helps prisoners who need assistance with improving their reading and writing skills – the majority of prison inmates have a reading age of 11 or below. This particular evening was the celebration after a literacy competition which had been held in the prison for the inmates, it was an opportunity to award prizes (in this case, dictionaries), listen to a guest author and for all those present to chat about books and reading.

My first life affirming moment from that evening came from a conversation with a young inmate, he was serving a long sentence and had gone to prison as an ‘illiterate’. He had subsequently learnt to read with the help of the charity, and could now read a bedtime story (The Gruffalo) over the telephone to his 2 year old son - the smile on the young man's face as he told me this heart-warming tale was a story in itself – his body may have been incarcerated, but his mind had been liberated.

I then got chatting with the guest author, Erwin James, and being unfamiliar with his work, I asked him “so what do you write, Erwin?” to which he replied “non-fiction, I write about life experiences” I thought no more about his answer and our conversation continued about the publishing industry and books in general. It was then time for Erwin to give his talk. As the hush settled, he started to speak “I know what you guys are going through, for I have been where you are now – I am a convicted murderer and I was sent to prison over 30 years ago, a wild man and barely literate”. And so Erwin told us his story, and wow, what a story it was. This angry, violent young man (he was in his 20s at the time) had been found guilty of murder and sentenced to a life in prison. He learnt to keep his head down and accept and serve his debt to society - and he learnt to read and write.

The skills Erwin found in literacy drove him to write to newspapers, time and time again he wrote letters from his prison cell – wanting to tell the world what life in prison was really like - it was not the cushy existence portrayed by visiting politicians who claimed a life inside was all colour TV and duvets, it was harsh, and quite rightly so. He did not seek pity, nor did he try to excuse his past – he just wanted to tell his story. His letters finally caught the attention of the Guardian newspaper and so started a series of articles, published over a 3 year period, which tell of his life in prison.

There have been several high profile ‘prison diaries’ published over the years, ironically mostly written by shamed politicians, however, the articles written by Erwin James, brought together in his book ‘A Life Inside – A Prisoner’s Notebook’, tell a story which I will not easily forget. I enjoyed my evening in prison, I enjoyed talking to a young man who had found joy in the ability to read, I enjoyed meeting Erwin James – all of my experiences that evening shone a light on some of the darkest shadows of life. I am delighted that Erwin has agreed to come to Akeley Wood School in March to tell you his story.


We'll despatch your order as quickly as we can. If a product is out of stock we will contact you to discuss the likely delivery time or an alternative product.

UK Delivery

Orders for delivery in the UK are despatched by Courier and will normally be delivered to you within a few days of placing your order (UK deliveries by Courier normally arrive the day after we despatch). Signed Books are shipped in specially made book mailing cartons, with the books themselves wrapped in paper and bubble wrap to protect them. Because we use courier and signed for delivery services, please use an address at which your parcel can be signed for during the normal working day.

First Item @ £3.75 (sometimes a shipping supplement may be added for particularly heavy books or specific postcodes*)
2 Items & Over @ £5.00 in total

*There are a number of Postcodes in the UK for which we will need to charge a shipping supplement, this will be calculated automatically during the checkout process. There are also a very small number of Postcode areas not covered by our delivery service, for these we will contact customers to agree a suitable and economic method of shipping. There may also be additional time required for delivery to some areas of the United Kingdom. View a complete table of Postcode Surcharges.

Overseas Delivery

Shipments to other EU countries:
First Book @ £15.00 (sometimes a shipping supplement will be added for particularly heavy books)
2 Books & over @ £30.00 in total

Shipments to the USA & Canada:
First Book @ £30.00
2 Books & over @ £50.00 in total

Shipments to the Rest of the World:
First Book @ £45.00
2 Books & over @ £60.00 in total

All overseas orders are shipped using a 'signed for' courier service - please provide an address at which your parcel can be signed for on receipt. We use the same packaging materials for our overseas deliveries as we do those in the UK.

It was the most impressive packaging that I have EVER SEEN!!! An ocd person's dream...

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.