My friend Rach and I have been daydreaming about a bookshop since we were children. We don’t see each other very often, but when we do it’s like we’ve never been apart. It’s embarrassing having a best friend at … we’ll say not yet 30. But I do. And when we get together and we’ve had a few out bookshop rears it’s head.
There’s so much we’ve wanted it to be, over the years. It’s going to be a cafe, a bar, a music and comedy venue. It’s going to be an old curiosity shop. It’s going to smell of old books and coffee. It’s going to be ours.
We’ll have reading groups and knitting groups and host children’s authors at books signings – I have a particular love for children’s books. We’ll sell the jam and cakes and scarves and jewellery that our friends make. We’ll host comedians that we’ve picked up at the Edinburgh Festival in the dingy back room of a pub.
If that sounds too dreamy, well it is. It is too dreamy. It is unreal. it is completely out of reach for an actor and a writer who don’t come from money. But Rach and I, we have plots and plans. The plots we have to fund the bookshop are as pipe dreamy as the shop itself, but some of them work a little.
We’ve just started a series of writing competitions, poetry, short stories and novels, with the prizes being publication by my publishing company. The plan is to run them 4 times a year. The response to the first competition has been great, especially considering no one has even heard of it!
There are all sorts of things we want to do for the Reading Room Cafe Project, but even if the dream never comes to anything, at least we will have had a good time dreaming it.