Last night was the opening party for the new Portobello Bookshop and I have a few photos to share with you today.
Firstly we were welcomed by the owner Jack Clark. He thanked his staff for working so hard to get everything ready for opening, the shop designers Splinter and also the designers of the shop logo. It has been busy every day since opening which Jack said had been both unexpected and a delight.
Events manager Sarah Barnard then introduced the first author of the evening, Daniel Gray, who read from his marvellous book Scribbles in the Margins. I highly recommend this book which contains 50 short essays about the eternal delights of books and reading. He read the chapters about finding dedications in old books, reading to children and the joy of a pristine book, a perfect reminder that we were surrounded by lots of pristine books ready to be bought! We had the pleasure of hearing a new chapter written especially for the German edition of the book. The German publishers did not want the chapter about reading in pubs. This was a wonderful piece about independent bookshops, inspired by watching the transformation of this very shop.
Sarah introduced Doug Johnstone next, fresh from a stint at Glastonbury with the Fun Loving Crime Writers. He read a couple of short sections from his latest novel Breakers, which I personally think is his best yet.
He also read his rather gruesome short story, Footprints, which was published in Postcards from Portobello, a special publication produced last year to mark the 10th Portobello Book Festival. Doug said he would be appearing this year with a very big name in crime writing. Watch out in September when the programme is launched and all will be revealed!
If you’ve seen Doug at any events before you’ll know he often brings his guitar and so tonight we heard three songs All the Way Through, I Did it Deliberately and Swim Till You Can’t See Land.
Afterwards there was time for people to mingle and chat as well as browse the bookshelves and have books signed. It was a lovely evening with a great buzz about the place. Thanks to Jack and Sarah and all the staff for organising such a great night. I hope the shop continues to be busy and know I’ll be visiting and buying a lot!
For details about future events, make sure you are signed up to the bookshop’s newsletter. You can do that via the website: The Portobello Bookshop