How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ― Anne Frank
At Shakespeare and Company we value our status as an independent bookstore.
Independence gives us control over the books we stock and the guests we invite to read here. It gives us the freedom to make the bookshop a unique place for discussion and the exchange of ideas, for discovery and unexpected encounters. It also allows us to stand in solidarity with other independent bookstores, whom we don’t see as competitors but as cousins, part of a large, scattered family of which we are proud to be a member.
For independence does not mean standing alone. Independence allows us to interact with and adapt to the community we serve on a human level. It gives us the freedom to take a stand on issues that are important to us, whether local or global, and to develop close partnerships with charities and organisations whose work we want to support.
GIVE WHAT YOU CAN, TAKE WHAT YOU NEED
Building upon what George Whitman called the creed of the Hotel Tumbleweed, to “give what you can, take what you need”, community based activities have long been an important part of our identity and are essential to the day-to-day life at the bookshop. They include:
• Welcoming aspiring and established writers from all over the world to live in the bookshop and participate in life here.
• Keeping the front room on the first floor as a non-commercial reading library, where visitors can while away the hours buried in a book, and where writing workshops and language exchange groups can assemble for their meetings.
• Organising a varied events programme, free and open to all, featuring writers on all subjects and at different stages of their careers.
• Working with charities and organisations, experts on issues we are passionate about, both in a fundraising capacity and through collaborative programmes. (More below)
• Making efforts to run the bookshop and café in an ethically responsible, and increasingly sustainable manner.
OUR EVENTS PROGRAMME / ENCOUNTERS
A bookshop is a powerful magnet for writers and thinkers, and over the past few years we have been fortunate to welcome an amazing array. Some high-profile guests have included Naomi Klein, Ben Rawlence, Eve Ensler, Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Chayes, Janine di Giovanni, David Simon, John Berger, Zadie Smith and Don DeLillo, along with hundreds of others.
Our events are always free and open to all. The intimate nature of the bookstore gives visitors a unique and democratic opportunity to listen to and interact with some of the most interesting storytellers, thinkers, scientists and poets at work today.
Encounters with these writers and their books have provided us with the inspiration, motivation and practical guidance for our current and future charitable projects.
We form partnerships with specialists in their field to help us develop our community and charitable activities. In addition to our existing collaborations we are currently working on exciting new partnerships that we hope to be able to announce very soon. Watch this space!