Literary Lounges at Barnett’s Books


Literary Lounges at Barnett’s Books in Wadhurst

Local independent bookshops are nearly all wonderful places to visit and the more innovative have various events to stay fresh and meaningful in this rather fast paced and increasingly globalised world. 

Barnett’s of Wadhurst is the archetypal quaint English bookshop, situated in a beautiful, creaky old building in a typical English village. It has very relaxed and helpful staff and radiates a quintessential atmosphere which fills the senses with that visceral reaction one has being close to a dense collection of books old and new.

The bookshop set up its Literary Lounge events in 2014, featuring new, local and established writers talking about their work. The events started off in the ‘salon’ – the upstairs lounge at Barnett’s – but soon outgrew the space as the events became increasingly popular. Now the lounges are regularly sold out, despite using the larger spaces of the Forge or Jempson’s Café. Each event starts with wine and refreshments at the shop for half an hour and an opportunity to meet the author informally before the more formal presentation or reading begins. Events are much anticipated and Sue Gaisford, a professional literary critic, acts as interviewer and presenter for the majority of events.

There are two intriguing events at the lounge this autumn. The first is ‘The Russian Revolution, a century later’ on Tuesday 24th October at 7.30pm, an evening with historian and writer John Symons talking about the three Russian revolutions ending with Lenin’s seizure of power in October 1917. This is followed by Keggie Carew discussing her memoir ‘Dadland’ on Tuesday 21st November at 7.30pm.

Keggie Carew, photo by Juliette Foy

John Symons is an expert in ferreting out the truth behind propaganda and drawing on personal memories of those who were themselves involved in historical events. He is the author of A Tear in the Curtain described as “full of insight” and “inspiring”. Keggie Carew’s Dadland was the winner of the Costa Book Awards 2016, and is a tragi-comic memoir which takes one into shadowy corners of history, a madcap English childhood, the poignant breakdown of a family, the corridors of dementia and beyond.

Barnetts Books, Gordon House, High Street, Wadhurst, East Sussex TN5 6AA. Open Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm, Wednesday 9am-1pm. Visit for further details.

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