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Brighton Journal | 9th December 2019

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‘The Big Interview’ with The Feminist Bookshop

‘The Big Interview’ with The Feminist Bookshop
Florence Dutton

Good news fellow feminists and book fans akin! The Feminist Bookshop is a brand new independent bookshop and plant-based café opening in central Brighton on the 16th November.

Women writers have often been overlooked amongst a male-dominated literary world, and I for one, increasingly still find bookshops that hold very few female authors’ work on their shelves.

The Feminist Bookshop is an opportunity to combat this – offering an inclusive community space that will boast an array of feminist, empowering books by women and non-binary authors. Feminist bookshops played an intrinsic role in feminism’s second-wave of the 1970s and 1980s. As well as selling celebrated and important work by females, they were safe spaces where ideas would merge and multiply.

We spoke to Ruth, the founder of The Feminist Bookshop, on how the concept came about, what we can expect from the shop and how you can get involved and show your support by donating to their Crowdfunder page.

So how did you come up with the idea behind The Feminist Bookshop?

The idea began when I first moved down here and started running a feminist book club in living rooms around Brighton and Hove. Initially I was just looking to make some new friends and talk about feminism, but it was such an awesome group and so inspiring, that I wanted to take it further. I realised that as the ground floor of my house used to be a shop it could probably be converted back and it just seemed obvious – it had to be a feminist bookshop!

What can we expect from The Feminist Bookshop and Café when it opens?

The idea is to build a community space which is open to everyone. The bookshop will be filled with books by women and non-binary folks spanning across all sorts of genres. There’ll be plenty of children’s and young adult books as well so lots to explore.

In the café we’ll be serving coffee by the amazing Girls Who Grind and have some delicious plant based cakes and pastries.

We’ll also be hosting events including book clubs, poetry nights, life drawing, talks and book signings. So do keep a look out, we’ve got lots of exciting plans in store.

Can you tell us about the crowdfunding page and why it’s needed?

We’ve now got permission to open the shop on Upper North Street but there is a lot of work to do to convert it from a living room back to a shop. The main reason we set up the crowdfunding page is to ask supporters to help us get the funds together for our initial stock. It’s a big investment to fill the shop with amazing books and as we’re a small operation it really helps to have some help from our customers.

Those who would like to get involved can buy tote bags, annual book subscriptions and vouchers to spend in the shop when we open. This will make a huge difference to how much stock we can buy and hopefully we can then open our doors brimming with fabulous books.

The crowdfunder is online here https://natwestbackherbusiness.co.uk/the-feminist-bookshop-and-cafe and will be closing at midday on 15th November.

What would you say are your top 3 ultimate Feminist books that you love?  Can we get our hands on them when the store opens?

Wow so many to choose from – I’m not sure I could narrow it down to three. There are so many classics that are just incredible but also lots of authors who are bringing out amazing books all the time.

Three books that I’ve really enjoyed recently are

  • The World that Was Ours by Hilda Bernstein, such an incredible real-life story that had me on the edge of my seat, and Persephone books are so beautiful.
  • Fruit of Knowledge by Liv Strömquist, there are some fantastic graphic novels about feminism and this one definitely counts among them, I was giggling the whole way through.
  • Belonging by Umi Sinha, the intertwining stories are absolutely captivating, I thought this was a really moving novel by a fantastic local author.

These, along with lots and lots of other brilliant books will definitely be on sale as soon as the store opens.

Is there anything else you can tell Brighton Journal readers on why they should pay a visit to The Feminist Bookshop?

For me, one of the most powerful things about walking into a bookshop is the sense of being surrounded by physical books containing so much history and so many ideas. Walking into a space where you face a wall of books telling women’s stories, talking about issues which are often suppressed is a hugely liberating feeling and I would encourage anyone to pop in and see for themselves. We would be very pleased to see you there!

And last but not least, when is the grand opening?

We are having our launch party for supporters on 16th November and then will open to the public for our launch day on Sunday 17th November from 12-5pm. After that we’ll be open Wednesdays to Sundays. All of our details and opening hours will be up on www.thefeministbookshop.com very soon.

 

The Feminist Bookshop needs your help – Click here to head to their crowdfunding page where you can support the business and help raise funds!

If you’d like to see more articles like this, please support our Crowdfunder and help us keep community journalism alive.

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