Name & Job Title: Mairi, Owner/Bookseller
Bookshop Name: Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop
What makes this bookshop special?
We’re a bookshop with a mission – we believe passionately in the power of books to affect change, to be part of shaping new narratives and feeding radical imagination.
You’ll see this borne out in the team we have and the books we stock. We have a big focus on indie publishers and radical presses and we make a concerted effort to champion the voices of women and writing from marginalized communities.
Inevitably this also shapes our readership which tends toward the curious and compassionate, which makes for a really wonderful, engaged community.
What’s the atmosphere like in the shop?
Packed shelves, yellow walls, LGBTQ+ pride flags and windows onto a lush garden combine with a joyful, earnest bunch of booksellers to make for a really relaxed, chatty, nerdy atmosphere.
We’re very gay, in all senses of the word.
What are you reading at the moment?
I tend to always have a few books on the go. As part of Disability Pride Month I’m reading books by disabled writers through July. I’m relishing Letters To My Weird Sisters: On Autism and Feminism by Joanne Limburg and I recently finished Jarred McGinnis’s The Coward which was deliciously bitter and brilliant. I can’t wait to start A Ghost in the Throat which a pal just sent me!
Can you recommend an underrated gem?
Publishing produces such excess that far too many tremendous books go under the radar. Recently I was shocked Salena Godden’s stunning Mrs Death Misses Death didn’t get a Booker nomination, it is breathtakingly good. It is quite new though so hopefully the tide will change on that one. Sulaiman Addonia’s Silence Is My Mother Tongue is one of the most enthralling works of feminist fiction, set in an unnamed refugee camp. It is cinematic and queer and years after reading it I still think of it every few months. Monstrous Regiment Press deserve an even bigger readership. Their So Hormonal anthology is so clever and captivating and Duck Feet by Ely Percy is hilarious. Also Damian Le Bas’s The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain is fantastic and fascinating and if more people read it there might be less ignorance and racism towards Britain’s GRT communities!