As you may or may not know, this Saturday 5th October is Bookshop Day, which is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign.
Books Are My Bag is a nationwide campaign run by the Booksellers Association to celebrate bookshops. It launched in 2013 and today comprises Bookshop Day and the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards. At the centre of the campaign is the iconic BAMB tote bag. Since the campaign launched, over a million people have worn a Books Are My Bag to show their love for their local bookshop.
Every year over a thousand bookshops around the country take part in Bookshop Day by holding special events, creating bespoke window displays and more. The BAMB Readers Awards are the only awards curated by bookshops and voted for by booklovers.
Newham Bookshop in Upton Park is one the bookshops taking part in this event and is the same bookshop that was part of many West Ham fans’ match day routine for the past four decades. In the unlikely event that anyone reading this doesn’t know about Newham Bookshop you can read more about them in this article that I wrote last year.
Earlier this year Newham Bookshop won the Bookseller’s award for London’s Best Independent Bookshop, beating some very stiff competition in the process. To celebrate this achievement an oral history project called Writing and Reading Newham will be in the bookshop this Saturday to record the stories of East London’s readers and writers.
Writing and Reading Newham is inspired by local author Gilda O’Neill and funded by the Gilda Street Trust in her memory. The oral history project aims to record the stories of local people who have bought their books, worked in or been inspired to write by Newham Bookshop. The project then plans to share these stories with local schoolchildren to inspire a new generation of writers and readers in Newham.
For 40 years West Ham fans have been an important part of Newham Bookshop’s history and the shop has hosted many West Ham players, managers and related authors at events and signings to promote their books. As I said in my previous article, I’m sure that many of you have queued outside for the chance to meet one of your West Ham idols and to read the tales of their exploits and achievements; while for other bibliophilic West Ham fans browsing the overflowing bookshelves was no doubt a part of your match day routine.
If you would like to share your stories and experiences of Newham Bookshop with the oral history project and are going to our home game against Palace this Saturday, why not consider leaving home a bit earlier and taking a detour via Green Street and the Barking Road to pop in and become part of the history of the shop. Apparently the West Ham fan, journalist and author of ‘Goodbye to Boleyn’ Pete May will be calling in, so there may be the chance for a chat about all things claret and blue with him.
As part of Bookshop Day there will also be 15% off all books purchased on Saturday. Newham Bookshop still has a wider range of West Ham books than any other shop plus a well stocked sports section with a heavy emphasis on football. Even more importantly ….. there will be free cake!
West Ham fans and Newham Bookshop have been so indelibly linked for 40 years that it’s important that we are recorded in their history. As well as inspiring the next generation of readers and writers in Newham it could also help to breed a new generation of Hammers and to preserve our link with Upton Park.
Thanks for reading.