Winter at the Bookshop was a raw, warm, cold experience. Raw with chapped fingers clutching kettles of boiling water from the gas-stove, multiple draughts whistling up and down the stairs; warm and sparkling with friendship and tiny coal-fires and everlasting hopeful activity.
St Ann’s in the early 1960s was a working-class area of Nottingham, at that time an industrial city. It was the subject of the 1970 book, Poverty : The Forgotten Englishmen. Most of the area was subsequently demolished during a period of slum clearance. A few years earlier, St Anns was the site of a “race riot”.
The bookshop was the meeting place of a small, international revolutionary group, which was also active in local politics. The author was one of those engaged in the hopeful activity mentioned above: a group of young people with a world to win.
This new edition of Sylvia Riley’s memoir has been updated with additional information, some from the author herself, some from people mentioned in the book. It has a new introduction written by political activist and commentator Tariq Ali.
“Admirers of Riley’s novels, written under the pen name Carol Lake, will appreciate the clarity, deft characterisation and telling detail of her non-fiction. They will also recognise her signature device of building a comprehensive picture of a community through overlapping narrative fragments that jump back and forth in time.” – Morning Star
About the Author
Sylvia Riley, writing as Carol Lake, was the winner of the 1989 Guardian fiction prize for her short story collection, Rosehill: Portraits of a Midlands City, and she is the author of Switchboard Operators, short fiction of the 1960s (which was made into a TV series The Hello Girls). She lives in Derby. Tariq Ali has been a leading figure of the international left since the 1960s. He is a long-standing editor of the New Left Review and a political commentator published on every continent.