159 High Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0NY
The Stoke Newington Bookshop at 159 High Street, Stoke Newington is run by Jo, a meticulously precise captain of this well-run literary corner of an otherwise barren high street. They were winners of the LBC/Independent Newspaper Best Bookshop in London in 2004 and a finalist in the Nibbie Best Independent Bookshop in 2006.
These days the advantage of its artistically oasis-like status is immediately borne out by the number of people in the shop. The main inventive window display was devoted to children’s books, though the fiction section was well-stocked and suitably idiosyncratic and oddball for local enquiring minds after an original read. At the time of our visit, novelist Amanda Craig was about to give a talk on her recent book ‘Hearts and Minds’, which was long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, and with Jane Harris and Lara Feigel in the offing, it is understandable just why this shop has community status as the place to get to meet successful modern writers.
The website, which has a 3D viewer of the shop to entice interested parties, also name checks and event lists other local events from Stoke Newington Library. But it’s not just worth a visit for its fiction section – art, local history and philosophy are also given prominent pride of place on display in this thoughtfully and clearly cherished and choreographed bookshop. The children’s toys and books shop is just a few doors away if the kids fancy the manual rather than the visual.
Address: 159 High Street, Stoke Newington, N16 0NY
Phone number: 020 7249 2808
Weekday opening hours: 9.30 – 18.00 (also Sundays 11.00 – 17.00)
Nearest tube station: Hackney Downs (overground – 24 minute walk)
Buses: 67, 73, 76, 149, 243, 276, 393, 476