Korean food, refurbishments, broken signs, a world-famous musician – it’s set to be an exciting month for Hackney’s many independent bookshops.
We begin our roundup with Broadway Market’s own Broadway Bookshop, which has recently reopened after a short closure for renovation.
“We used to share our entrance with the flats above,” explained Jane Howe, owner-operator of the store. “The landlord wanted the flats to have their own, so we’ve got an entrance that goes straight into the shop now.”
Howe took the opportunity to make hay while the door change was put in place. The “great big table down the middle of the room” has been cleaved in two, with castors mounted on the bottom of each half, allowing for a much more flexible space and showing off more of the vibrant red flooring.
Howe continued to extol the benefits of the new layout: “There’s a new children’s room downstairs – so it’s no longer in the main body of the shop, they’ve got their own little cosy place. It’s actually much better than it was.”
The new-look outlet already has some events booked in – on 25 October, former National Trust publisher Margaret Willes will host an evening around her latest work The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, a study and celebration of what are perhaps England’s most celebrated diarists (Adrian Mole notwithstanding).
Willes returns in late November with Ken Worpole – former Centerprise writer, social historian and Hackney resident since 1969 – to discuss the new Hackney Society book (look out for a review of that in next month’s Citizen).
Stoke Newington Bookshop are currently reeling from the unexplained alteration of their sign (see right), which seemed to relocate them to the Staffordshire Potteries.
The shop, now in its 30th year, has author Penelope Lively in on Monday 9 October, to mark her collection The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories. Tickets cost £2.50 – and that includes a free glass of wine.
Lower Clapton Road’s Pages of Hackney is fresh off of a run of political talks, with Brexit and the impact of the 2012 Olympic Games on East London recently coming under discussion. This month’s events, however, are a tad more easy going.
Pages launch new children’s book illustration exhibition Telling Stories – which brings together illustrator and Hollywood visual effects artist Elena Topouzoglou, Saudi Arabian freelancer Alia Baghdadi and graphic novelist Michael O’Brien – on 12 October.
For those who want to appear on the shelves themselves, Being a Writer: Advice, Musings, Essays and Experiences From the World’s Greatest Authors co-creators Travis Elborough and Helen Gordon will have an edifying chat on the 17th of the same month.
Pages of Hackney also organise events in the larger confines of Sutton House (home of many ghosts, as you can find in this spooky story). John Darnielle visits the Homerton mansion on 10 October – the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for seminal indie-folkers The Mountain Goats will discuss his new novel Universal Harvester with Timothy J. Jarvis.
Telling the story of a video store employee’s encounter with a disturbing movie on a returned tape, the book will no doubt transpose Darnielle’s often deeply sad lyrical style to the page.
Haggerston’s Burley Fisher Books is the last stop on our jaunt. 19 October brings a cross-sensory experience to the shop – for a tenner, you’ll be able to sup a sujo mojito and chow down on Korean food provided from new restaurant Shep’s while you hear Min Jin Lee read from her epic novel Pachinko.
Burley Fisher will also welcome authors like David Hayden, Gary Budden and Eley Williams this month, with a poetry night coming on the 27th and a life drawing night on the 29th.