As you may all know, The Kew Bookshop celebrated its 30th Birthday last weekend, which is definitely no mean feat in these uncertain times ! So we decided to celebrate with the people of Kew. Come and see the many photos we took during the two day celebrations…
Cakes galore – and all the newly printed goody bags ready to get their contents, pictured below…
Firstly, we had lots of prep to do beforehand – our good friend Russ made hundreds of little tiny cakes and delicious chocolate chip cookies for the guests and customers, and then devoted a whole day to putting all the goody bags together. Our Head Office (lounge) looked like a bomb hit it !! A valiant and heroic day’s work – thank you so much Russ…
Balloons for the arch: Before opening, Adam had his work cut out, threading all these balloons into a spectacular arch framing the shop doorway.
The two windows either side of the balloon arch each had their own message for a while prior to the event.
The children’s window was beautifully illustrated with a birthday cake and funny dragon characters by Rob Starling, who illustrated Smriti Prasadam-Halls new book, ‘The Little Island’.
The adults window was covered in lots of names in white and red, with the times and dates – a couple of names were added each day in the week prior to the event.
DAY 1: SATURDAY 11th OCTOBER
We had so many lovely authors and writers who came and celebrated with us last weekend – here are the Saturday contingent:-
Children’s author Josh Lacey, with the latest installmant of his popular ‘Dragonsitter’ series.
Claire Tomalin, who has written her autobiography, ‘A Life of my Own’ and came and shared it with us.
Konnie Huq, who gave us a lovely birthday card, and also entertained two separate classes from two local schools – great stuff !!
The lovely Bookshop Band, who write songs about books, and do their gigs in any bookshop with a tiny corner where they can set up !! Give them a listen on You Tube…
Gordon Kerr, caught mid-flow as he reads from his latest book, ‘The Partisan Heart’.
Here’s Gordon Kerr listening to Travis Elborough as he holds forth about his latest book, ‘The Atlas of Vanishing Places’.
We were also most delighted to welcome back, after 30 years, esteemed broadcaster and writer Melvyn Bragg, who had the task of opening the Kew Bookshop 30 years ago. He gave us a great little speech and a toast to the next 30 years!
He was invited by Caroline Blomfield, pictured here with him, who owned the bookshop with her husband David and a business partner, Tony Barnett, (both of whom are now sadly no longer with us.) Caroline still lives locally, and supplied us with lots and lots of photos of the shop from its first five years or so, with which we created a big collage – oh, how it has changed !!
DAY 2 : SATURDAY 12th OCTOBER
Saturday was just as packed with guests – we kicked off at 1pm with a visit from children’s author Kes Gray, creator of the ever popular Oi! series of books. He brought along his very own pet puppy (who sat on the table looking very much like a soft toy !!) and signed many books for many adoring fans.
Also at around 1pm, we had the lovely ladies from the Kew Village Market Cookbook , Judith Becker and Sarah Edington, who came along with some absolutely delicious houmous, and very bright green broad bean dip (surprisingly good actually) – both recipes from the book, and also some Italian Cantucci di Prato made with almonds, wonderfully crunchy and nutty !! At least one customer took one and dipped it in the Houmous by mistake, even though it was clearly labelled – hey-ho !! Apparently it was a good combination…
At 2pm, Edward Brooke-Hitching came along to sign copies of his wonderful new book ‘The Sky Atlas’, the third book in a trilogy of cartographic books – ‘The Phantom Atlas’ in 2016 and ‘The Golden Atlas’ in 2018. This one deals with the heavens…here’s Adam getting copies signed for himself and the shop.
Also at 2pm, we were very happy to welcome Viviane Schwarz and Kevan Davis, who have written a book about inventing your own Board Games called ‘Board Games To Create & Play’ – this is where you can use their templates on each page to create your own games – what’s not to love ? They created the Kew Bookshop Game for us especially for our birthday event, which got given away in all the adult goody bags – what fun !!
At 3pm George Goodwin popped in to sign copies of his lovely little book about Christmas and how we celebrate it – ‘Christmas Traditions’ is a sure fire win for a stocking-filler this year. Here’s our friend Russ having a good old chinwag with George…
At 3pm, we welcomed Ned Palmer out onto the shop-floor. Ned is a cheese expert, and has written ‘A Cheesemonger’s Guide to the British Isles’, and agreed to come and give us a taste. He had arrived at 2pm and was preparing his amazing selection of cheeses out the back in our rather cramped office before emerging with large slate slabs of the BEST Cheese samples I’ve tasted in a very long time – a good strong Cheddar, Red Leicester, Stilton and a blend of Cheddar and Gouda which was simply amazing. Oaty crackers accompanied and washed down with sparkly Prosecco – how lovely !!
About an hour later, our star guest Gyles Brandreth arrived with his daughter, who was his assistant for this event, taking photos for Twitter and other websites of course. Gyles agreed to sign loads and loads of copies of his new book about poetry ‘Dancing by the Light of the Moon’.
Russ managed to get a photo opportunity with Gyles of course…and the book proved to be very popular with the throng in the shop.
Here’s Ned posed with Gyles , holding each other’s books
“Say cheese!” said the photographer.
“C’est cheese!” said Gyles…
“What a friend we have in cheeses!” said Ned Palmer, cheesemonger, author & new best friend.
What a fun afternoon…
At the same time as Gyles, we had the pleasure of welcoming Smriti Prasadam-Halls, who has written an anti-Brexit book for kids (hurrah!) called ‘The Little Island’ which Kew Bookshop had the very great pleasure of launching officially, just a couple of days later on Monday evening. She signed loads of books and chatted to everyone in the shop…
We also welcomed author Laura Thompson at 5pm, who admittedly had a hard act to follow coming after Gyles had left, but she was so charming and oh – so interesting !! I have read one of her books already and she left me wanting to read more…she signed copies of her book ‘Take Six Girls’ in the new UK hardback edition for this Christmas:
Alan Connor also came and joined in the fun – he lives locally and writes about quizzes and crosswords and how to solve them. He used to edit the questions for ‘Only Connect’ and he entertained us with a pub quiz which was staged in the pub next door, back when we first took over the Kew Bookshop in 2016, to celebrate his book ‘The Joy of Quiz’. At this event, he was challenging himself with writing crossword clues on the spot, based on people’s names !!
What a lovely fun-filled birthday event we all had – plenty of books were signed (and sold!), lots of Prosecco drunk and loads of cakes, houmous, Italian biscotti, cheese and snacks eaten, and lots of happy Kew customers !!