Edinburgh is a reader’s paradise. Few other cities can beat it for the variety and quality of its bookshops; new, old, specialist, weird – you can browse them all here. This August two of the very best, Golden Hare Bookshop, Stockbridge and Lighthouse Books, West Nicolson Street, are getting together to offer you the Edinburgh Book Fringe.

Lighthouse Bookshop

The Book Fringe was started in 2009 by Elaine Henry, owner of Word Power Books (Lighthouse Books’ previous incarnation) to bring together readers and writers, some of whom would not get a platform elsewhere, in a comfortable and intimate setting, and to encourage a real exchange of ideas and information. Early speakers included Mark Thomas, Blake Morrison, Tom Leonard, Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.

Accessibility was and remains key. Admission to all events is free.

In 2017 Lighthouse Books’ new owner Mairi Oliver (one of The Bookseller’s 2019 Rising Stars) approached Julie Danskin, Golden Hare’s manager to ask would her shop like to collaborate with Mairi’s to carry the Book Fringe forward?

‘..we jumped at the chance and it’s a highlight every year. It’s hard work, but each year is such an adventure…’ (Julie Danskin)

Events take two forms: Golden Hare hosts panels and conversations in early-evening slots, while Lighthouse offers lunchtime events at 1.00pm. The programme reflects the character of each shop, with this year’s topics set to cover everything from exile literature and queer writing to translated fiction, polemic, poetry, politics and history. Speakers will include Deborah Levy, Rawan Yaghi, Derek Owusu, Elif Shafak, Bedtime Stories Collective, Mia Violet, Marina Warner, Dan Richards and James Meek.


Golden Hare Bookshop was named Independent Bookshop of the Year 2019 at the British Book Awards. It offers great books of all kinds, with a particular emphasis on a love and appreciation for book design, and a busy events schedule throughout the year. Lighthouse Books is Scotland’s leading political bookshop on the radical left, specialising in activism, intersectional feminism, revolutionary history, environmentalism, LGBT+ writing, poetry, translated fiction and of course, politics. It also runs many events, including the annual Radical Book Fair in November. And both shops have brilliant books for children too.

Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street

Look out for the full Book Fringe programme, coming soon – check the websites https://www.lighthousebookshop.com/ and https://goldenharebooks.com/ or call into the shops. 

Golden Hare Bookshop, 68 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AQ

Lighthouse Books, 43 West Nicolson Street, EH8 9DB