Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

What are we?

Lighthouse is a queer-owned and woman led independent community bookshop. We are an unapologetically activist, intersectional, feminist, antiracist, lgbtq+ community space. In 2020 we were nominated Scotland’s Best Independent Bookshop!

We celebrate diversity of thought and expression, championing voices from the margins.

We house 10,000 titles across most genres, from politics, history, fiction and travel writing to Children’s books, crafts and cookery. We are particularly passionate about radical, left-wing and Scottish politics, intersectional feminism, revolutionary history, environmentalism, LGBT+ writing, poetry and translated fiction.

We are usually open 7 days a week and have a vibrant year-round program of events, with one or two events a week as well as our regular book groups. Our big calendar highlights are the two big festivals we run, the Book Fringe in August and the Radical Book Fair in November.

Who are we?

We are an eclectic, slightly eccentric chosen family of bookish people, all of us passionate about making the world a fairer, better place. Meet our booksellers below!

Our Values

We are committed to playing our part in building a greener, fairer, kinder tomorrow.

In practice this means:

Fair pay & inclusive hiring - we are a Living Wage employer.

An engaged and evolving Safe Spaces Policy.

A commitment to accessibility. You can check our accessibility page HERE. We are still learning and are always open to adapting the shop or the website for the ease of use and enjoyment of everyone.

High environmental and sustainability standards. We source our Merch from sustainable and environmentally friendly sources. We reuse & re-purpose as much as we can and recycle almost 100% of our waste (mostly through ChangeWaste). All our packaging, from bookwraps to packing tape are as eco-friendly as we can find and, where we can, we use carbon-free or carbon-neutral delivery options, such as Farr Out in Edinburgh. We participate in sustainability politics and environmental activism, partaking in the climate strike and putting on educational events.

Curation led by content, seeking out own-voice narratives and diverse writing, so that our shelves and our sales reflect our values. A strong commitment to independent presses nurturing such talent.

Our History

There has been a bookshop on West Nicolson Street for over 30 years – the Lighthouse is a new incarnation of the Word Power bookshop Elaine Henry opened here in 1994. We are still home to Word Power Books, an independent Scottish publisher, though we have put the publishing on hold to focus on the bookshop for now!

Noor (she/her)- passionate about literature and liberation politics, from feminism to Palestine, Noor helps to program our events and take the the bookshop out into the world. (ALSO, winner of Bookseller Association Bookseller of The Year Prize 2019, as well as being a translator)

Mairi (she/her) is a queer cis woman with a passion for liberation & solidarity politics, and an addiction to feminist historical fiction, world literature, queer writing and coffee. Mairi owns Lighthouse, which she set up in 2017.

Christina (she/they) - writer, and researcher, Christina is committed to better gender representation in the literary sector and a great reader of queer and feminist fiction, our go-to for bisexual book recs!