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Ingrid Persaud, author of Love After Love

I can’t wait to inhale the smell of new books, tread the gleaming wooden floors, and catch the light illuminating the stained-glass window. Yes, take me to worship at Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street.

dauntbooks.co.uk@dauntbooks

 

Natasha Farrant, author of Voyage of the Sparrowhawk

On 12 April I will be going to Lutyens & Rubinstein off London’s Portobello Road. I have ordered books from them for years (using Amazon to look up ISBN numbers), but this friendly little bookshop is so beautifully curated that whenever I go to pick up my order I always leave with way more than I originally bought. There’s something about the place – whenever I walk in, the weight of the world feels temporarily lifted and I could browse there happily for hours. When I went back after the first lockdown, I burst into tears. It felt a tiny bit like coming home. lutyensrubinstein.co.uk | @LandRbookshop

 

 

Donna Payne, Faber Creative Director

In the heart of Brixton Market, London, lives Round Table Books. Surrounded by long established market stalls and new independent cafes, its tiny size allows for easy browsing with enthusiastic and knowledgeable bookseller recommendations that are free-flowing and natural. Set up to champion authors and illustrators who do things differently, it serves to celebrate under-represented children’s and YA books. But make no mistake, there is something for everyone in this special bookshop. Round Table, I’ve missed you – I can’t wait to welcome you back! roundtablebooks.co.uk | @BooksRound

Rebecca Watson, author of little scratch

I’m looking forward to heading back to my local, Burley Fisher Books in Haggerston. Dream staff, great space and even second-hand books in the basement. (It also has a bar.) I miss discovering books there by coincidence, the simple success of opening an unknown book to a convincing page. burleyfisherbooks.com | @burleyfisher

 

Catherine Daly, Faber Audio Editor

I’m really looking forward to my next visit to . . . Waterstones in Bromley! It’s kind of magical and incongruous, tucked away like a jewellery box above the hurly burly of the Glades Shopping Centre. The stock always feels fresh and current and, although the staff are unobtrusive, they’re usually bursting to chat about books if you approach them. @BromleyBooks

Exterior of the London Review Bookshop
Andrew O’Hagan, author of Mayflies

To bless the calendar of international festivals, and as part of Independent Bookshop Week, we should, in my humble submission, have National Bookshop Day, perhaps on George Orwell’s birthday (25 June), with a free event by an author in every independent bookshop in the land. If that ever happens, I want to start the day in the Portobello Bookshop, an ongoing seaside masterpiece of bookselling a few miles outside Edinburgh. Not only does the staff know its books and its authors, staff members know their customers, and they love their shop and they take obvious pleasure in their working lives. In the great Portobello Bookshop they behave as if bookselling was an act of citizenship as well as commerce, an act of friendship as much as business, and it’s a complete adornment to the area, their beautiful shop. Its return to full trading should, in a rational world, be greeted with a 10 a.m. salute from the big cannon at Edinburgh Castle. theportobellobookshop.com | @PortyBooks

On the day of our imaginary festival, I want to catch the shuttle and lift a glass of wine in the evening at the London Review Bookshop in Bury Place, Bloomsbury. Here now is another small boutique of unexpected dreams: well-chosen books, beautifully laid out, with a brilliant roster of supporting events and an en-suite cafe. I, for one, can’t wait to be a real live customer again, up and down the land, as the nation’s great bookshops come back to life. londonreviewbookshop.co.uk | @LRBbookshop

Stephen Page, Faber Executive Chair

I love Booka in Oswestry, on the Shropshire and Welsh border. Run by ‘wife and husband’ team Carrie and Tim Morris, it’s a superb example of a bookshop that is the cultural hub of its town, with a rich events programme, great digital presence and an arrestingly curated stock. bookabookshop.co.uk@BookaBookshop

 

Hannah Turner, Faber Publicity Manager

I absolutely love Pages of Hackney and can’t wait for them to be open again. They always have the best recommendations and are so interested in chatting to customers about the books they love. pagesofhackney.co.uk | @pagesofhackney

 

Melissa Harrison, author of The Stubborn Light of Things

A brand-new book is a wonderful thing, but right now I’m longing for a few hours amid the packed shelves, groaning tables and toppling piles at Barnabees Books, which bills itself as ‘the second-best second-hand bookshop in Westleton, Suffolk’. There’s something powerfully inspiring about a chance encounter with a book you hadn’t known existed, but which calls to you unexpectedly; it’s how a lot of my best ideas have come about. @barnabeesbooks

 

Ruby Bamber, Faber Sales Operations Manager

It only opened in 2019 and it’s everything a town-centre indie should be: a very handsome shop in a lovely setting with enticing window displays and a really intelligently curated selection of titles. There’s even a doll’s-house version of the shop on display, which is magical!  If I lived closer I would be there all the time.  maldonbooks.com | @BooksMaldon

 

Mary Jean Chan, author of Flèche

My favourite bookshop is Gay’s the Word in Bloomsbury, as I found it to be a safe haven in which to browse queer books when I first arrived in London in 2014. I’m so excited it will be opening its doors for the public again, so more folks might discover new writers, as well as themselves. gaystheword.co.uk | @gaystheword

 

Sophie Clarke, Faber Executive Assistant

Bookbar – a new wine-bar bookshop in Islington – is soon to be my favourite place in London to watch the world go past with a glass of wine and a great book. And its owner Chrissy always gives the perfect book recommendation, whatever you’re in the mood for. @bookbaruk

Phoebe Williams, Faber Marketing Executive

I grew up in West Dulwich and a trip to Dulwich Books after school was always a real treat. They have a fantastic selection of both children’s and adult titles and I can’t wait to have a browse when I’m back in the area again to see my family. dulwichbooks.co.uk@DulwichBooks

 

Laura Hassan, Faber Associate Publisher

I live in London and my local favourite bookshop is Phlox in Leyton. It is a teeny but very beautifully designed store with a cleverly chosen selection of books and a gorgeous, inviting children’s area. They even do coffee and wine – bliss! Outside of London, I always try to visit Mr B’s Emporium in Bath. Their staff are unbelievably knowledgeable and the shop is enchanting. I could spend hours in there and I always come out with armfuls of books.’ phloxbooks.com | @phloxbooks | mrbsemporium.com | @mrbsemporium

 

Jeffrey Boakye, author of Musical Truth

I’ve had the privilege of being invited to discuss my books at a bookshop in London called Pages in Hackney. It’s everything you could want from not just an independent bookshop, but any bookshop at all: intimate, well stocked, full of a diverse range of titles and run by people who really care. And that’s the big thing: care, love, passion. Pages of Hackney is a reminder that bookshops are places you go to enjoy books as well as find them. Places where books are treated as just as special as the people who read them. pagesofhackney.co.uk | @pagesofhackney

 

Pete Adlington, Faber Designer

My favourite is my local bookshop, Herne Hill – they remained on hand over lockdown to order whatever I needed and readily entertained my specificity on the exact cover I wanted the books to come with, which probably got annoying eight Orwells in. @hernehillbooks

 

Emma Carroll, author of Letters from the Lighthouse

I’ve missed the smell of bookshops. I’ve missed seeing glorious covers stacked face-upwards on tables. I’ve missed browsing shelves, drooling over colourful spines, sprayed edges, embossed lettering. I’ve missed the beauty of books, that giddy feeling of walking into a bookshop and wondering where to start. I’ve missed the expertise of booksellers, who guide us beyond the supermarket shelves to where the real treasure lies. To all the brilliant bookshops out there, I wish you the happiest of reopenings. See you very, very soon! 

 

Hannah Styles, Faber Rights Executive

I’d like to recommend my local, Jo’s Bookshop in Chingford. It’s always a joy to browse there, they are friendly and helpful and always happy to make a recommendation. @chingfordbooks

 

Hannah Lee, author of My Hair

The last place I visited before the second (or was it third?) lockdown was Round Table Books in Brixton. It was the last day that bookshops around the country would be open and I really just wanted to be around books. What I got was books and great company (thanks, Layla!). Regulars are always popping their heads in to say hello and books are warmly recommended so it feels like being invited into a special book club when you visit. They’ll definitely see me when lockdown is done. roundtablebooks.co.uk | @BooksRound

 

Hayley Sothinathan, Head of Faber Members

Discovered when in Hebden Bridge for a Members event, The Book Case is a gem of a bookshop. On a beautiful street full of other incredible independent retailers, the shop has a great curatorial eye for literary fiction and gifts. @bookcasehebden

Eleanor Crow, Faber Designer

St Ives Bookseller offers a tremendous little bookshop in St Ives, Cornwall. Locals use it all year round, not just in the tourist season. The selections are superb – they manage to fit so many genres, with new and backlist titles, in such a small space, and are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their books. stives-bookseller.co.uk

 

My second pick is the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. There are two branches, both of which are excellent (the other is in Tetbury). The selections are wonderful, with brilliant tabletop displays of current titles, and a carefully curated but wide-ranging selection of titles on the shelves. They have worked flat out in the pandemic to get books to people, including local schools, and they are always happy to have a conversation about books. yellow-lightedbookshop.co.uk | @YLBookshop

Chris Power, author of A Lonely Man

I’m lucky enough to live between three brilliant bookshops and, as soon as they reopen, I’ll be back visiting each of them: Burley Fisher, The Broadway Bookshop and Pages of Hackney. Each one is a vital community space. burleyfisherbooks.com | @burleyfisher broadwaybookshophackney.com | @thebbookshop | pagesofhackney.co.uk | @pagesofhackney

 

Louisa Joyner, Faber Associate Publisher

I love Linghams bookshop in Heswall on the Wirral. It’s not just its fabulous range, its fantastic creative events or that I’ve spent many happy hours with a massive slice of cake whilst my kids play and read the books we’ve just picked up. It’s also the joy they bring my mum, because being part of their community means so much to her and that connection is priceless. linghams.co.uk | @linghamsbooks

 

Dinah Wood, Faber Drama Editor

A minute or two from my flat is Ink@84, a beautiful little bookshop that has kept me going with click and collect during these long lockdown months. It sits beside my favourite coffee shop and, as the window display is forever changing, it’s a place to linger. I’ve bought several novels as a result. The table inside is piled high with seductive books and the staff are lovely. I wish there were a drama section, but you can’t have everything! ink84bookshop.co.uk | @ink84books

 

Anne Miller, co-author of Funny You Should Ask . . . Your Questions Answered by the QI Elves

Topping & Company in St Andrews is my perfect bookshop – seemingly endless shelves stretching upwards complete with ladders for the ones beyond reach, cosy corners, tea on tap and a team of booksellers full of excellent recommendations. toppingsbooks.co.uk | @ToppingsStAs

Leah Thaxton, Faber Children’s Publisher

Tales on Moon Lane is a bookshop I can’t pass without tripping inside. It’s a treasure trove, not a bookshop; a cabinet of wonders. This is where I spotted Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street, before I had even read about it. The shelving, decorations and cubby-holes contribute to the sense that there are book secrets just waiting for someone to discover them. This is the escapism a brilliant bookshop offers best. talesonmoonlane.co.uk | @talesonmoonlane

Rachel Darling, Faber Trade Marketing Coordinator

Crofton Books opened their shop during lockdown and I can’t wait to finally visit my new local. They sell second-hand as well as new books and every time I see one of their Instagram posts I want to buy something. @croftonbooks

Angus Cargill, Faber Publishing Director

Scarthin Books in Cromford – I’ve been going here for years and years, and its mix of new, used and antiquarian books as well as its idyllic setting, overlooking the mill pond, make it a must-visit if you’re ever in the Peak District and want to happily lose a few hours. scarthinbooks.com

Benedetta Costantini, Faber Key Accounts Manager

I live close to Broadway Market in East London and I love the fact that along this small street there are not one, not two, but three independent bookshops. The Broadway Bookshop may be tiny, but don’t be fooled – it’s the store version of Mary Poppins’ bag, and possibly one of the coziest shops in London. Donlon Books caters to all your photography and artistic needs, and Artwords Bookshop not only stocks beautiful books but it’s also conveniently located next to a bakery, so you get to browse titles while you queue for bread. Win/win. broadwaybookshophackney.com | @thebboookshop | donlonbooks.com | @DonlonBooks | artwords.co.uk | @ArtwordsBooks