Michael Palin, Sarah Waters, Simon Armitage, Malorie Blackman, PD James and Yotam Ottolenghi will all help launch Foyles’s ‘bookshop for the 21st century’
Traveller and writer Michael Palin, bestselling novelist Sarah Waters, award-winning poet Simon Armitage, Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, crime writer PD James and acclaimed chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi, will be among the first authors to appear at Foyles’ new flagship bookshop in London as part of the Foyles Grand Opening Festival this summer.
Foyles, UK National Bookseller of the Year 2013 and 2012, will open the doors to its much-anticipated new store at 107 Charing Cross Road in early June 2014. Designed by architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands as ‘a bookshop for the 21st century’, the spacious former home of Central Saint Martins is just a step away from Foyles current location at 113-119 Charing Cross RoadLondon.
The Foyles Grand Opening Festival will celebrate the occasion with three weeks of literature and culture from 11 June-4 July 2014. During this time the store’s dedicated events spaces will be brought to life by an all-star line-up of authors and activities for all ages, including book signings, jazz and classical concerts, lunchtime talks, topical debates, film screenings and creative workshops. Other events confirmed to date include a performance by the newly-formed Foyles Festival Chorus, led by Juliet Russell with both staff and customers in its number, and evenings with Foyles regulars Salon London, The White Review and Laydeez Do Comics.
Further Foyles Grand Opening Festival announcements will be made in the coming months with tickets on sale from mid-April. For updates and information on ticket booking customers can follow @Foyles on Twitter or sign up to the Foyles newsletter at: foyles.co.uk/Public/JoinMail.aspx
Siôn Hamilton, Retail Operations Director and Manager of Foyles 107 Charing Cross Road, says: ‘We’re incredibly honoured that some of most-loved writers of our time are joining us to celebrate the opening of our new flagship bookshop, with many more still to be announced. Ever since the first author lectures of the 1920s, Foyles has a long heritage of supporting authors and bringing them together with their readers. The new custom-designed events spaces at Foyles 107 Charing Road will continue this famous tradition in style. We look forward to welcoming the writers, thinkers, actors and readers who will continue to shape our lives over the next century.’
Bestselling novelist Sarah Waters has appeared at Foyles many times during her career. She adds: ‘Foyles has been a feature of London’s literary landscape for more than a 100 years, a bookshop with a special place in the affections of writers and readers alike. It’s going to be terrific to see it make the move to its glorious new home, and I’m thrilled that I’ll have a part in the opening celebrations.’
The festival builds on Foyles’ famous literary events programme, including the Charing Cross Road Festival and the ever-popular Ray’s Jazz performances and classical concerts. This will continue apace in the new shop’s event and cultural facilities, which include a 200-seater auditorium for talks and concerts, a purpose-built gallery and a new Café at Foyles.
The new Foyles flagship shop will house a range of over 200,000 different titles on four miles (6.5km) of shelves – the equivalent of lining one bank of the Thames with books from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London. With 37,000 square feet of flexible retail space, spread across eight alternating foot-plates over four floors, it will be the largest bookshop to open in the UK so far this century. An impressive full height central atrium and large windows will fill the space with natural light, while the retail layout will allow for easy navigation and the serendipitous discovery of new books.
Foyles, which was founded in 1903 by brothers William and Gilbert Foyle, first opened on Charing Cross Road in 1906 and moved to its current location at 113-119 Charing Cross Road in 1929. Declared by William Foyle to be ‘the world’s first purpose-built bookshop’, it quickly became one of the capital’s most well-known literary landmarks. William’s daughter, Christina, built friendships with some of the leading writers of the time and pioneered bookshop author events, beginning a lecture series in the 1920s and founding the famous Foyles Literary Luncheons in 1930.
As the business has expanded again in recent years and returned to profit, with Christina’s nephew Christopher Foyle as Chairman and CEO Sam Husain at the helm, the new shop celebrates a new chapter for this world-renowned, family-owned enterprise.