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New feminist bookshop opens in Soho

17 August, 2018 — By The Xtra Diary

Writer An Devers – the mind behind “The Second Shelf”


A feminist bookshop selling rare works by women writers looks set to open in Soho.

AN Devers – a writer and rare book dealer – first came up the idea for “The Second Shelf ” in 2014.

She raised £33,000 through an online fundraising campaign to set up the project, which is due to open October.

According to an interview in The Bookseller, there is space for 3,000 books and to hold regular literary events – although she will not give the precise location as details have not been finalised.

She told The Bookseller: “It’s a small store, less than 300 sq ft, it’s cosy but with enough space to have events for 25 people or so with a small courtyard outside. It was something I wanted in a few years’ time but the opportunity was offered to me fortuitously.

“It will be a feminist bookshop, but the focus will be rare books and modern first editions – a lot of literature and non-fiction and significant work by women across all subjects.”

As well as rare books, modern first editions, and rediscovered works by women, it will sell new titles which Ms Devers considers “future classics”.

The store will also sell merchandise including branded tote bags, limited-edition prints, bookmarks and publications related to feminism.

Ms Devers plans to run it five days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 5pm, and hopes to take on staff.

She added: “It may seem like a small action but we need to say that women’s first editions are important and should get a place on my bookshelf. It’s an important step,” she said. “To help protect these writers’ legacies, we should collect them.

“I’m trying to define the market and say this is an important thing, and to lead the charge. I’m not saying men should not collect books by women, I hope that they will.

“It seems like even if a woman writer’s contribution is acknowledged then it seems hard for her to get her space in the literary canon.”

An Devers has a new book out called Train.

For more information visit thesecondshelf.com

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