Instead of hosting one big party, here at Wenlock Books we held five mini-parties to make our Books Are My Bag Big Bookshop Party as inclusive as possible. All events were free and drop-in, and the huge turn out was completely unexpected! Starting with a Poetry Breakfast led by Anna and local poet Liz Lefroy, guests drank coffee, ate croissants and listened to poetry for the first hour of their weekend. The second-hand section was completely full but the cosy setting made it even more lovely.
After the Poetry Breakfast, we held a Gruffalo Storytime for under 5s, complete with mini Gruffalo cupcakes made by our apprentice Jasmine. There was songs, stories, Gruffalo costumes, Gruffalo hand puppets, and plenty of fun for everyone!
Many of the children who came to the Gruffalo Storytime returned half an hour later for a Children’s Bookish Arts and Crafts session, led by 15-year-old Imogen Denholm.
The children had loads of fun colouring in Julia Donaldson’s What The Ladybird Heard Next paper bags and using up some left over Indie Bookshop Week The Tiger Who Came To Tea stickers! Many of the older children and the parents had a wonderful time colouring in Johanna Basford’s Books Are My Bag colouring sheets. Cake, crisps, and sandwiches (which were kindly made by a customer) made it feel like a real party!
Once the Arts and Crafts had been cleared away the second-hand section was transformed into a sophisticated venue for Cynthia Gamble’s book launch. To launch her new book, Wenlock Abbey 1857-1919, Cynthia was joined in conversation with William Motley who grew up at the Abbey. Guests travelled from far and wide (some even flew in from abroad!) to meet Cynthia and celebrate her new book, and the event was topped off with plenty of prosseco and cupcakes.
Our final event of the day was a Go Set A Watchman reading group. Staff and customers engaged in deep discussion about Harper Lee’s newest novel as well as talking about other books that they have recently enjoyed. Recommendations were shared by everyone and it really was the perfect end to a day full of bookish events.
As well as the 5 events that were held upstairs in the second hand section, we welcomed eleven special guests to celebrate Books Are My Bag day with us. Liz Lefroy, Jeff Phelps, Sam Gray, Edward Hancox, James Hannah, Andrew Fusek Peters, Nadia Kingsley, Jenny Swann, Cynthia Gamble, Manda Scott and Katherine Swift all made appearances throughout the day chatting to customers and signing copies of their books. As a special treat, Katherine Swift (author of The Morville Hours and The Morville Year) read an exclusive extract from her highly anticipated new book which isn’t even finished yet!
To capture the fabulous celebrations, blogger and YouTuber Ally Dewing (allydewing.wordpress.com) spent the day filming and taking photographs of the event. She also filmed some interviews with guests which will be posted on our blog soon. To finish the day, Ally filmed an interview with our apprentice Jasmine who organised the day!
A huge thank you to all of our guests who joined us and to all of the customers who popped in to celebrate Books Are My Bag day with us. We hope you had as much fun as we did, and we look forward to seeing you all soon!