Litro Magazine puts its energies behind authors, books, editors, and artists who help keep the reading and writing life vital, and we know how important indie booksellers and bookshops are to this mission. Please support independent booskellers!

For this “Interview with an Indy Bookseller,” we talk to Nash Robbins and Cate Olson of Much Ado Books in Alfriston, East Sussex.

What makes your bookshop unique? We offer a hand-picked selection of both new and vintage books, displaying them on two floors and in purpose-built buildings around our compound. From rare collector’s items to pocket-money paperbacks, from newly published bestsellers to classics, we offer tempting volumes in a setting like no other bookshop, with a hen patrolling the yard and book arts displayed throughout.

Which newly released books would you like to recommend to Litro readers, and why? Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny simply brilliant – funny, charming, filled with great characters and utterly engrossing.

Is there a book from the last decade or so would you like to see recommended more widely? Deb Olin Unferth’s Barn 8 is a compelling novel of bad people making bad choices to do a good thing – an entertaining, beguiling look at how people can and do come together. It is wonderful – and features a great chicken!

Is there a theme or genre of books that you love and/or promote in your shop? Why? Our natural inclination is towards fiction, but we love book arts and try to offer interesting books that encourage people to make things – so no matter what it is, the act of making can offer such important pleasures! And the lockdown has inspired us to assemble a series of book boxes featuring different themes and treats.

What’s the best part about being a bookseller? Sharing books we love.

How does your bookshop function as a community hub? We run a social enterprise called Prospero’s Project that distributes new books to charities and organisations.

What’s your favourite quotation about reading, writing, or bookshops? Groucho Marx: “Outside a dog a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog it is too dark to read.”

Tell us about any interesting interactions you’ve had with readers or writers in your bookshop. Jacqueline Wilson is a lovely regular browser who is endlessly patient with our requests to signing copies of her books. She is even more patient with the young – and not-so-young – fans she meets by happenstance. Their excitement is palpable, and she is unfailingly charming!

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