There will be a real sense of celebration next week when independent bookshops take part in a range of events all making up Independent Book Week.

Independent Bookshop Week from 19-26 June 2021 is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign and is run by the Booksellers Association, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops all over the UK and Ireland.  There will be events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings, literary lunches and face painting.

Local bookshops will have their own way of celebrating, and you are urged to support them if you can. Some of the events will be in store and others will be online, depending on individual circumstances, but rest assured that as many Edinburgh independents will be taking part as possible. 

Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh launched a pay-it-forward scheme enabling readers to sponsor hundreds of books for children in poverty, and multicultural families who had lost library access. They also provided hot water and drinks to homeless people throughout lockdown when cafés were shut. Their shop regulars helped them do home deliveries across the city on bikes and by foot to help keep their carbon footprint down. It’s been a real community effort and they’ve come out thriving.

Highlights organised by bookshops in Edinburgh include:

·       Comma Press will be joining forces with Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh, to launch their forthcoming anthology The American Way. They’ll be holding a virtual event featuring co-editors Ra Page and Orsola Casagrande in conversation with Lighthouse bookseller Noor Hemani (Wednesday 23 June, 7-8pm)

·       Saraband Books are twinning specific books with bookshops, and will be dedicating a day to each bookshop throughout the week. Far from the Madding Crowd x How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison: the bookshop will be featuring How to Survive Everything as a Book of the Day during IBW.

·       Julia Donaldson will be doing a live virtual event hosted by Wee Three Indies (The Edinburgh Bookshop, Far From the Madding Crowd and Atkinson-Pryce Books), At Home With Four Indies (Booka Bookshop, Forum Books, Linghams Bookshop, and Book-ish) and Steyning Bookshop. Tickets are £5 for the event only, or available for free with a purchase of one of the following books: The Woolly Bear Caterpillar, The Hospital Dog  or The Scarecrow’s Wedding (Saturday 19th June, 10.30-11.15am)

There are also fantastic virtual events happening this year, including:

·       Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell will be designing this year’s Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag, available exclusively from indie bookshops

·       Viv Groskop will be doing a series of virtual events for the paperback release of Au Revoir, Tristesse, with signed stock available for indies

·       Libby Page will be touring independent bookshops (virtually) to promote her new novel The Island Home

·       Alex T. Smith, the author and illustrator behind the Claude and Mr Penguin series, will be doing an Instagram takeover tour for a number of different indies

·       Brian Bilston, the unofficial “Poet Laureate of Twitter” and author of Alexa, what is there to know about love (Picador) will be writing two exclusive poems in support of the campaign, celebrating the vital work of indie booksellers

·       Instagram legend and illustrator Alea Marley will be doing virtual (or in person) events with signed stock of her book Get Up Elizabeth