London. Friday 1st October. Plans for Bookshop Day, the annual celebration of bookshops across the UK and Ireland (Saturday 9th October), have been revealed today, including author events and signings with Jeanette Winterson, Ian Rankin, Mark O’Connell, Val McDermid, K.N. Chimbiri, Piers Torday and many more; exciting bookshop exclusives and promotions; charitable initiatives with Book Aid and other charities; BookTokers celebrating Bookshop Day on TikTok for the first time; window displays by local illustrators; poetry competitions; spoken word performances by Glastonbury artists, and much more.
Celebrating bookshops big and small, Bookshop Day is the annual reminder that bookshops are so much more than just places selling books. With Christmas fast approaching, the Booksellers Association is encouraging customers to “Shop Early, Shop Local” this autumn, and to start thinking about their Christmas shopping earlier. Booksellers will be on hand to help customers choose the perfect gifts for their loved ones, both in-store and via their websites, phone or email.
With events taking place across the country, highlights include:
Jeanette Winterson, best-selling author of 12 Bytes,and Mark O’Connell, author of Notes from an Apocalypse and To Be a Machine, will have a fascinating discussion at Manchester Central Library about what humanity might do next, in partnership with Part of Manchester Literature Festival, the event is in partnership with Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester and hosted by writer Kate Feld. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 6pm).
Lara Maiklem, bestselling author of Mudlarking and most recently A Field Guide to Larking, will be doing an event at Festival in a Factory in Stoke-on-Trent, in partnership with Waterstones Hanley, where you’ll be able to discover the treasures just beneath our feet, hidden in rivers, streams, fields, beaches and connect with people of the past through the everyday items left behind. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 11am).
Robin Ince will be at Mount Florida Books in Glasgow on Bookshop Day as a part of his #100Bookshops tour to celebrate the release of his new book, The Importance of Being Interested. More info about the Mount Florida event here (Saturday 9th October, 8pm). Other shops include The Chorleywood Bookshop (the bookshop of his childhood), Our Bookshop in Tring (his current local bookshop) and shops in St Helens, Stewarton, Carlisle, Settle, Ilkley, Wootton-Under-Edge, Bristol, Sidmouth and Exeter. At each stop he will ask the booksellers to recommend the book that has piqued their curiosity the most and will create a site charting the path of the tour and the recommendations. All the shops taking part in the tour are listed here.
Nigel Warburton will interview Amia Srinivasan, the author of the recently-released Sunday Times bestseller The Right to Sex at Blackwell’s Oxford. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 11am).
Max Hastings, in his signature brilliant style, will give a thrilling narrative of this little-known but crucial naval battle, retelling the intense action which perfectly encapsulates the spirit and power of the Royal Navy, as part of the Dorchester Literary Festival, in partnership with Waterstones. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 2pm).
Raynor Winn, bestselling author of The Salt Path, will be doing an event as part of Dorchester Literary Festival, in partnership with Waterstones, where she will discuss his latest book, The Wild Silence, which tells the story of one couple’s inextricable connection to the land; and how by exploring their past, Raynor comes to terms with their future. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 4pm)
Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of the Shetland, Vera and Two Rivers novels will be doing a signing at her local bookshop, The Bound in Whitley Bay, Northumberland (Saturday 9th October).
Melissa Cummings-Quarry and Natalie A. Carter, authors of Grown: The Black Girls’ Guide to Glowing Up will be doing an event at the newly opened Bookhaus Bristol. Founders ofBlack Girls’ Book Club will be sharing stories and offer honest, practical advice on how to own your choices, to live your truth without fear and to be grown on your own terms without limits or apologies. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 4pm).
Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre will be hosting a Kevin VS The Unicorns series of events at Max Minerva’s Marvellous Books in Bristol. More info here (Saturday 9th October, sessions at 10am, 10:45am, 11:30am).
Graeme Macrae Burnet will be doing a mystery drop-in tour of bookshops in the North of England, starting at The Book Case, Hebden Bridge, to sign copies of Case Study and say hello.
Phil Earl, author of When The Sky Falls, will be visiting over 20 bookshops in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the lead-up to Bookshop Day to sign copies of his book.
Alexandra Page, debut author of the YA novel Wishyouwas, will be doing an in-store signing at The Rocketship Bookshop in Salisbury. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 11am).
Joe Shute, Yorkshire-based journalist and author of Forecast: A Diary of the Lost Seasons, will be doing at event at Ilkley Lit Festival with books sold by The Grove Bookshop. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 12:30pm).
Catherine Menonand Neema Shah will have a panel discussion about their debut novels. Fragile Monsters by Menon traces one family’s story from 1920 to the present day, while Shah’s Kololo Hill is set during the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin and follows an Asian Ugandan family whose lives are torn apart in 1972 as they must leave the country. The event is part of Ilkley Literature Festival in partnership with The Grove Bookshop. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 3pm)
Piers Torday, author of The Wild Before, will be recording a special episode with award-winning podcast Writers Routine, to be released just in time for Bookshop Day. More info here (Saturday 9th October).
Tim Weaver, bestselling crime author of Missing Pieces, will be visiting bookshops around Bath to sign copies of his book, including Waterstones Bath, Oldfield Bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium (Saturday 9th October).
Really Big Pants will be performing at Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End. The show will be Clare and Cory Share a (Glorious) Story with an accompanying longer form picture book, illustrated by the award-winning Steve Smallman. More info here. (Saturday 9th October, 10-11:30am).
James Norbury will be doing a bespoke painting in the shop window of Book-ish in Crickhowell for his new release, Big Panda and Tiny Dragon on Friday 8th The following day, he will then be in the shop for the day to sign copies of his book (Saturday 9th October).
Brummie poet and Glastonbury performer Spoz will be doing a live performance poetry outside The Bookshop on the Green in Birmingham, to launch his new children’s poetry collection Canaligator. Children can then get creative and create their own chocolate raps with Spoz after each performance. (Saturday 9th October, 11am and 1pm)
N. Chimbiri, author of The Story of Afro Hair, and Vanessa Taylor, author of Balelr Boys, will be doing a signing with Book & Kulture on the weekend of Bookshop Day, as part of a collaboration with Black Wall Street London, a permanent retail store on Camden High Street focused on products by diverse makers and crafters. Over the weekend, Book & Kulture will be taking over the basement space and turning it into a bookshop for two days. More info here (Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October, 10am-7pm).
Jodie Chapman, Ashford author of the debut novel Another Life, will be doing a signing at Waterstones in Another Life is set in Ashford and explores love, hope and sacrifice, and was a BBC 2 Between the Covers pick. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 11am).
Poet Zaro Weil, author of and Cherry Moon current CLiPPA Award winner, will be hosting an event for families at The Book Nook in Hove on Bookshop Day. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 11am).
Local author Lynne Francis will be signing copies of her ‘Margate Maid’ series The Secret Child and A Maid’s Ruin at Waterstones in Dean. More info here. (Saturday 9th October, 11am-2pm).
The Book Nook in Stewarton is holding ‘Activities with Authors’ throughout Bookshop Day, where authors will be chatting to customers, signing books and doing specially planned activities. Authors include Petra Baillie, author and illustrator of a range of children’s books including Illustrateyour Own books and The Strange and Wonderful Adventures of Pippa; Sharon Baillie, author of Magenta Opium; Jerry Brannigan, author of Robert Burns in Edinburgh; Lindsay Littleson, author of a range of children’s books including The Titanic Detective Agency, Secrets of the Last Merfolk and Guardians of the Lost Unicorns; and Hannah Willow, expert in mindfulness for children, author of Just Be (Saturday 9th October).
Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Essex will be hosting a number of events throughout the week including a poetry slam hosted by local DJ and poet Stuart Pink (Thursday 7th October, 7:30pm), the book launch for Frankie Durkin’s latest release, followed by a Book Club dinner (Saturday 9th October) and an online event with Melissa Welliver, debut YA author of The Undying Tower (Sunday 10th October, 7pm).
Owl and Pyramid Bookshop in Devon will be hosting a number of events to mark Bookshop Day, including a book treasure hunt for children, blind date with a book for adults and children, raffle for book bundles, adults and children, free £5 voucher with every spend over £35, 10% off any Christmas books, games and Christmas cards and the launch of their new loyalty system and subscription service.
The Ivybridge Bookshop in Devon will be hosting children’s storytelling and activities with local authors including Clare Helen Welsh and Holly Ryan for a morning of stories featuring dragons, mermaids, pirates, princesses, owls, terns, peacocks and elephants! (Saturday 9th October, 10am).
Truman Books in Leeds will be hosting a number of events, including a late-night shopping event with free glass of bubbles (Thursday 7th October) and storytime for under-fives, a kids writing and a drawing competition to win a £10 book token, a free tote bag with all purchases over £30 (Saturday 9th October).
Picaresque Books & Galerie Fantoosh in Dingwall will be holding a “Gathering of Authors” for Bookshop Day, with local authors donating signed copies of their books to go for auction in aid of Book Aid. Signed books by Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Graeme Macrae Burnett and/G. Maclean will be available and local authors including Barbara Henderson, Helen Sedgwick and Brian Devlin will pop in the shop during the day (Saturday 9th October).
Typeset Space, a new community bookshop and co-working space in Rotherham, will be giving £5 vouchers to people who bring them a five-line poem (known as a “quintain” – this could be a limerick, a verse of a sonnet, a Japanese-style tanka, or any other format you like!). They will select five poems per day to award with vouchers, to be used in store. More info here (Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th October).
Mostly Books in Abingdon will be turning into Pixies to celebrate Bookshop Day. They are planning to drop gift wrapped books around town for people to find and keep. They will also be offering every customer who spends £20 or more the chance to win a hamper full of book related goodies as well as offering every customer who spends over £50 a free Books Are My Bag Limited-Edition Bag (Saturday 9th October).
Cambridge University Press Bookshop will be offering 10% off all books on Bookshop Day for all customers who mention “Bookshop Day”. They are also offering a free branded tote bag with every associated purchase (Saturday 9th October).
B For Butterfly Books in Sale, Greater Manchester will be holding a ‘Family Fun Day’ to mark Bookshop Day. The event is free to attend, but the bookshop is asking attendees to consider donating to one of the charities supported by Emporium M3, including clean empty crisp packets to Cyril Flint Befrienders, plastic milk bottle tops to Pathfinder Dogs, used postage stamps to Nightingale Centre at Wytheshawe Hospital, pet food to Cats of M33, and second hand bras, football kits and boots to Bras for Africa. More info here (Saturday 9th October, 10am-5pm)
Review Bookshop in Peckham will be putting together a special window display to promote their favourite books of 2021 so far, and their favourite books by local writers in Peckham and Southwark – including Featherhood by Charlie Gimour, The Upper World by Femi Fadugba, The Actual by Inua Ellams, Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson and more.
Bookshop Day will be working with TikTok influencers for the first time this year, with some of the most popular BookTokers in the UK helping celebrate bookshops, and encouraging their thousands of followers to do the same.
Coming from up and down the country, from Wolverhampton to Surrey to Sunderland, confirmed BookTokers include: caitlinreadsbooks (61.1k followers), whatbritreads (46.8k followers), the_caffeinatedreader (31.5k followers), anya.reads (54.2k followers), cultofbooks (48.2k followers) and more.
They will be creating exclusive content in their local bookshops, as well as showcasing their favourite books to read on Bookshop Day and beyond.
Award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola is the creator of this year’s Books Are My Bag Limited-Edition Bag, which will be available exclusively in bookshops from Bookshop Day.
Joining the likes of artists and illustrators such as Charlie Mackesy, Sir Peter Blake, Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Orla Kiely, who have designed previous editions of the bag, due to popular demand Dapo’s bag has had the biggest run a Limited-Edition Bag since Bookshop Day began.
BOOKSHOP.ORG FREE SHIPPING
Bookshop.org, the book-buying website on a mission to support independent bookshops and literary culture, will be offering free shipping on all purchases made through their website on Bookshop Day.
Bookshop.org encourages customers to shop at their local bookshop as much as possible, and offers a brilliant ethical alternative to anyone who wants to purchase their books online while supporting bookshops across the UK.
To mark Bookshop Day, the city of Edinburgh will be taken over by a series of colourful billboards featuring Dapo Adeola’s artwork and ‘Choose Bookshops’ messaging.
The 21 billboards will be unveiled on Monday 4th October, in the run-up to Bookshop Day, in locations including: Prince St, Haymarket, Portobello, Fountainbridge and more. They will be on display until Monday 18th October. Using the artwork created by Dapo Adeola for this year’s Limited-Edition Bag, they will be encouraging consumers to choose bookshops this Bookshop Day.
Opening its doors just after Bookshop Day, Afori Books will be the UK’s biggest supplier of books by Black authors, and Brighton’s first Black-owned bookshop. After operating online for more than a year, owner Carolynn Bain launched a crowdfunding effort on her website to raise £10,000, allowing her to open a bricks and mortar bookshop.
Meanwhile, the independent community bookshop Once Upon a Time Bookshop in Alston, Cumbria will be moving into a new shop and will be reopening on Bookshop Day, as they opened their previous shop three years ago on Bookshop Day 2018.
Piers Torday, author of The Wild Before, said: “My favourite bookshop is Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End, North London – not just because they have supported my books from the very start, but it is a wonderful shop, so welcoming to children and families. Steve and Urmi are always ahead of the curve, and understood early on how the bookshop experience was changing; they converted a room above the store into a children’s theatre, they went full on into supplying school events (including mine) and can also happily fulfil any order, children’s or adult. They’ve just opened a new pop-up shop in Enfield, and I hope to be popping by there soon, because buying a book at Pickled Pepper is always a joy.”
Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the Booksellers Association, said: “One week to Bookshop Day, and we’re already buzzing with excitement! From organising poetry competitions and spoken word sets to secretly dropping books around town, to mind-blowing window displays – the creativity of booksellers knows no limit, and they will have something in store for everyone this Bookshop Day. As the beating hearts of their communities, bookshops getting involved in charitable initiatives is a real testament to the incredible contribution they bring to the high street, and the local communities they serve. We wish everyone a wonderful Bookshop Day!”
Details of Bookshop Day events taking place across the country can be found on the Books are My Bag Facebook events page.
Follow the latest development on social media via @booksaremybag / #BookshopDay