Word Power Books is steeped in history – a bookshop, publisher, and online store, as well as the host of innumerable events, not least the annual august Book Fringe and the autumn’s Radical Book Fair. Launched in 1994 as a little shop in Edinburgh’s southside, the last 23 years have earned Word Power a reputation as a stalwart of the left, staunchly, unapologetically political and socially engaged – a place of hope and engagement. We believe this legacy is vitally important, and perhaps never more so given today’s political landscape. It is a legacy Elaine entrusted to us to keep alive and that is what we intend to do.
We will continue to celebrate diversity of thought and expression, to encourage readers to engage with ideas both from the margins and mainstream. We remain committed to challenging dominant and domineering ideologies and championing ideals such as equality, sustainability and free speech.
Some change is inevitable – with Elaine off to France, we must adapt! So here is a snapshot of how we move forward.
Word Power Books is our publishing arm – an independent Scottish publisher housed at 43 West Nicolson Street.
By mid May you will be able to find a list of all our publications – from The Liberty Tree to Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence– on our website. Our most recent publication was Meaghan Delahunt’s brilliant short story collection Greta Garbo’s Feet & Other Stories and it will not be our last! If you have any queries about our books or would like to order copies just shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Expect news early 2018 of our next project…
The world of books is a precious resource: books are not commodities to be marketed on the shelves alongside baked beans. The range of books we continue to offer gives readers fast track entrance to a world of publishing outwith the mainstream, a world where independent publishers, small presses, new writers with no prior sales history, individuals producing their own zines all have an equal voice and sit happily alongside Margaret Atwood, Che Guevara or Naomi Klein on the shelves.
Without Elaine, Tarlochen, Lisa and Marshall the bookshop will never quite be the same – we choose to embrace the inevitable changes and hope you’ll stick with us through our wee transformation. We’ve given the walls a lick of paint and brought in a few old armchairs so you can all browse to your heart’s content in a space that is bright and cosey and full of great discoveries. We’ll even rustle up some free coffee for readers if you’re keen to linger.
The bookshop itself remains Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop, though it is now called the Lighthouse.
The name references our belief in offering refuge in dark times and being a safe haven for all; It draws inspiration from Virginia Woolf, Scotland’s Lighthouse Stevensons and the anti-fascist organisation SearchLight.
No one is better placed to bring words alive than the authors who have penned them – over the years Word Power has hosted the likes of Lesley Riddoch, George Monbiot, James Kelman and Rebecca Solnit. We will continue to bring esteemed authors, emerging writers and rising stars to Edinburgh audiences so do sign up to our newsletter for regular news. Our bigger projects will also continue, though while we find our feet expect the programming to be a little lighter!
In August we will be hosting a number of Book Fringe events, free mini-talks taking place early afternoon in the bookshop. In October we will return with the 21st Independent Radical Book Fair. This will take place over 3 days in the bookshop, with stalls, readings and big evening events. More details to follow!
For many years Word Power has worked hard to maintain an online bookstore that would provide an alternative to Amazon for readers who wanted to shop ethically but were not able to visit the bookshop in Edinburgh. Though it might not have seemed it, this was a huge and costly undertaking for a small independent. Reluctantly we have had to accept that we simply don’t have the capacity to carry this on at the moment.
We will try to keep a range of the books we stock on the Lighthouse’ website, showcasing smaller publishers and lesser known authors and offering a window into our physical space.
If you’re keen to continue supporting radical independent bookshops online, we’d recommend visiting the brilliantly stocked website of our friends at News From Nowhere, or you can use The Hive and nominate us as your local bookshop.