Empty Brighton store becomes bookshop and learning space for six months

A vacant shop in Brighton city centre has been transformed into a bookshop and learning space for a six month period.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 11:53 am
The Book Makers opened on Wednesday. Photo by Kitty Wheeler Shaw

The Book Makers has taken over the empty unit in Cranbourne Street, formerly occupied by Pylones, thanks to a pilot ‘pop-up shop’ project.

The scheme, a partnership between the council and Brilliant Brighton BID, supports local artists and arts organisations by providing them with a cost-only tenancy at a vacant unit for a short-term period.

The Book Makers, which opened its doors on Wednesday, is a volunteer-run community project through which established authors support local writers from diverse backgrounds.

Inside the Book Makers. Photo by Kitty Wheeler Shaw

The brainchild of local author William Shaw in collaboration with Brighton-based arts charity Creative Future, the space is a welcoming environment for anyone who loves books and for those who want to learn more about writing.

William Shaw, author and co-creator of The Book Makers, said: “Bookshops have always been about more than just selling books.

“With The Book Makers, we’re building a space where established authors commit to welcoming new voices into the community of writers.

“It’s a place where people can learn about the craft - and business - of writing.

“The Book Makers is supported by local Brighton bookshop Goldsboro Books who are managing the shop’s retail content.

“A percentage of revenue from all sales goes to support the pop-up shop.

“Goldsboro’s Managing Director David Headley also runs the DHH Literary Agency and will be involved throughout the pop-up’s lifetime.”

Brighton-based arts charity Creative Future are running a mentorship programme which lies at the heart of The Book Makers project.

An arts organisation and charity, Creative Future specialise in supporting underrepresented writers, especially those facing barriers to opportunity.

In September, Creative Future New Writing South and Writers Mosaic will be starting a full programme of workshops in the space to further inspire creativity.

Councillor Martin Osborne, co-chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “I am delighted to see The Book Makers project open alongside the art installations we have commissioned recently in previously vacant properties.

“One of the many things that make Brighton & Hove unique is the abundance of talented people and organisations in our arts and culture sector.

“It’s fantastic to hear all the exciting plans The Book Makers have for utilising the former vacant premises, for the next six months, on a cost-only basis where they otherwise may not have been able to do so.

“I’d also like to personally thank our partners Brilliant Brighton for all their work towards this project, it has been a mammoth job and I’m grateful for all their help in making this happen.

“I’d encourage all keen readers and aspiring authors alike to pop into The Book Makers as there truly is something for everyone.”