Independent Bookshop Week: Our authors on their indie heroes

14 June 2022

For this year’s Independent Bookshop Week, which kicks off on 18th June, we’ve asked our authors to recommend their top indies. From East London to South Devon via Hamburg and Mumbai, here are their picks.

Meg Clothier – author of Sea Fever

A local bookshop is about so more than the books. Brendon Books is tucked away on Taunton’s tiny independent shopping street (crystals! sourdough!), but I live too far out in the sticks to drop by easily. But luckily the owner also runs a fantastic literary festival, enticing writers to our county town. Just as Covid was finally waning last year, he suggested I give a talk about Sea Fever. After all those months at home I was preposterously nervous, but I can’t tell you how good it felt to be out, in town, at night, telling my tallest tales to a lovely home crowd – every bit as uplifting as a clifftop walk. Thanks Lionel!

Oliver Bullough – author of Butler to the World and Moneyland

My favourite local independent bookshop is Booth’s Books in Hay-on-Wye, which sells all the books I could dream of — both used and brand-new — while also having a great cafe AND a comfortable and stylish little cinema.


Kubra Gumusay, author of Speaking & Being

I remember the exact moment I walked into the bookshop Lüders in Hamburg – about to meet the owner of the bookshop, Ragna Lüders, an enthusiastic woman with sparkling eyes who had fallen in love with the book before meeting me, and I was about to fall in love with her and her bookshop. It was my first time in there. In fact, it was the first time in months, I had left my flat to cycle elsewhere, to meet a stranger in an enclosed space, to read from my book in an empty space, to a remote audience. Ragna and I kept our distance, wore masks. It felt surreal. Not the masks, nor the distance – I had gotten used to that by now – but to physically enter a bookshop. For months now, we had only been able to pick up books from the front doors of bookshops, if at all. Watching those long and beautiful shelves filled with worlds of imagination and knowledge from afar. But here I was, in the middle of the pandemic, April 2020, standing in an almost empty bookshop except for it’s owner Ragna, breathing the smell of antique and new books, my heart about to burst with joy. And then, I noticed a literary programme booklet by the city of Hamburg spread around the bookshop – filled with dozens of events that were supposed to happen that month. Obviously, none of that happened. The booklet had my face on it. „Wow, I had no idea!“, I exclaimed in delight. „It’s everywhere!“, said Ragna, “There are posters, leaflets, advertising your book premiere in Hamburg.“ A premiere that never happened. As I held this booklet in my hands it felt like little relict of a parallel universe that was accidentally left behind. In that other universe I might have never come to realise, how much I love these soulful bookshops, their smell, their people, how essential they are to bring us together. But in this universe, I certainly do.

Anna Aslanyan – author of Dancing on Ropes

Burley Fisher Books are the go-to guys for anything a reader might need: from books to banter and beyond.



Noor Mayal Khanna, author of Seva

Kitab Khana, Mumbai: I discovered this iconic Mumbai bookstore in the years when I was a Conde Nast staffer working in the heritage quarter of Mumbai. I loved the historic facade, the impossibly-tall piles of books and the charming cafe that served both fresh salads as well as home-cooked Sindhi food. I’d meet an uncle of mine here during lunch hour, grab a table, order food and then wander around smelling the unmistakable scent of freshly printed books. Sadly during the pandemic, the bookstore caught fire and every single book was burnt or drenched. However, the owners, Amrita and Samir Somaiya, have bravely overcome their losses and reopened to the public in March 2021. I highly recommend their children’s section as well as the mezzanine floor for uninterrupted browsing. In our fast paced world, taking the time to browse a bookshop and read a book seems like such a luxury and Kitab Khanna is a place that will warm the heart of any book lover.