To celebrate Bookshop Day today (October 6), we've got some exclusive quotes from poets on their favourite Bookshops, as well as where they'll be spending the day!
Favourite: I absolutely love Wenlock Books in Much Wenlock in Shropshire. As well as being one of the most beautiful old buildings in lovely Much Wenlock, there is a delicious range of new and second-hand books all beautifully displayed; it’s a bookshop full of light and warmth. Owner Anna Dreda is the perfect mix of bookseller and host and her offering of afternoon tea to anyone who happens to be in the shop is delightful. There’s always something going on; poetry readings, book group meetings, poetry breakfasts, poetry and knitting ...I haven’t got space here for everything that goes on in the bookshop. It’s the heart of the community of Much Wenlock.
On Bookshop Day: I’ll be in Kendal in the Lake District on Bookshop Day talking to people with a cancer diagnosis at a Macmillan discussion day about how reading and writing poetry can be a tool for living with ill-health. My good friend the horror writer Simon Kurt Unsworth is a bookseller in the lovely Waterstones there too which is nice!
Queens Park Bookshop is where I went as a child. I have such fond and specific memories there, a now sadly passed friend bought me a copy of The Secret Garden, I walked myself home from school aged seven and picked up Pippy Longstocking and the cashier gave me a tiny metal pin badge with 'cherub' written on it. It feels so homely and wholesome to me. I've spent hours and hours in there and intend on spending hundreds more.
Favourite: I have lots of favourite bookshops so my loyalty is torn now! The one thing they have in common is that they have a good selection of poetry books. I would have to mention Sutton's Bookshop in Ulverston which is my nearest independent bookshop. Robert, the owner always has time for a chat about poetry and life and I try and order my poetry books through him if possible. My other favourite bookshop is Sam Read in Grasmere - they always have an extensive selection of poetry books with lots of collections that have just been published.
On Bookshop Day: I'll be at Swindon Poetry Festival on the 6th October so I expect I will be haunting the Festival book table.
Favourite: Waterstones in Leeds, really because of all the events they've put on over the years that I have so much enjoyed.
On Bookshop Day: The Grove Bookshop in Ilkley. I will be performing at the Ilkley Festival that day with the composer Christopher Fox as well that day if you're around.
Favourite: Five Leaves Bookshop. It's tucked up a little alley off the main shopping street in the centre Nottingham, and it's a marvel. It has a great selection of books, a team of passionate and dedicated staff, and it runs lots of events. It is a community bookshop and a proudly radical bookshop, which I think is important. Now is not the time to be pretending that businesses can be apolitical – especially since independent bookshops are political by their very existence.
On Bookshop Day: I'll actually be running my own pop-up bookshop on 6th October (Bookshop Day), as part of the JQ Craft Crawl! Around 60 makers will be taking over spaces in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, and I'll have a bookstall. I mostly work from my home office in the Jewellery Quarter, so it will be nice to be more public-facing for the day, especially since it's Bookshop Day.
Favourite: Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham is my all time favourite bookshop. Not only does it have a great poetry selection, it has supported local poets over many years with book launches, stock and bookstalls at events. They're more like an extended family than booksellers, although you will still need to pay for the books, of course.
On Bookshop Day: City Books in Brighton. I bought 'Poems that Make Women Cry' last time I was in. This time I think I'll buy 'Poems that Make Men Cry'. We all love a good cry now and then. They should sell tissues with these books!
Marjorie Lotfi Gill
Favourite: I have to choose just one? It would be a three-way tie between the Edinburgh Bookshop, Lighthouse Bookshop and Golden Hare books, all local and independent bookshops in Edinburgh. And then I'd need to throw in EACH ONE of the terrific bookshops in Wigtown, Scotland's book town!
On Bookshop Day: I'll be at my local bookshop, Edinburgh Bookshop, in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh.
Favourite: Heffers in Cambridge. I worked there for the happiest years of my long career and it has an unrivalled selection of poetry books. Even now, whenever I visit Cambridge it is a must stop destination.
On Bookshop Day: Gullivers Bookshop in Wimborne, Dorset.
These poets have shared their favourite bookshops for Bookshop Day to celebrate this year's partnership with National Poetry Day, which took place on Thursday, October 4.
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