AboutNovember 26, 2021 2022-11-03 18:20
Hello! And welcome to The Book Room
I am Anna and some of you may have already followed my journey from ‘bestseller to bookseller’, but for those who haven’t, here is a quick recap:
Words have been my life. I have been a journalist on national newspapers and magazines for the last 27 years, and just under a decade ago I started writing books.
My job for much of the last decade has been as a ghostwriter, which means that I have written memoirs for other people.
Here is a list of just some of the books that I have written during that time:
Breaking the Silence
CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today
Somebody I Used to Know
Those Who Can, Teach
What I Wish People Knew About Dementia
(and forthcoming) One Last Thing: Conversations on Life, Death and Assisted Dying by Wendy Mitchell (Bloomsbury)
CUT was longlisted for the Orwell Prize – Britain’s biggest and most prestigious political writing prize. And Wendy Mitchell’s first two books, Somebody I Used to Know and What I Wish People Knew About Dementia were both Sunday Times bestsellers, the former also being a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick and a Radio Four Book of the Week.
I am also a novelist, and my debut novel, The Imposter, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2021. Since 2021 I also run a successful mentoring scheme for working class writers. I am also an alumni of the Creative Writer MA at University of East Anglia.
But in October 2022, I decided to turn my attention to bookselling.
It has been a fascinating journey to go from writing books to stacking them on my own bookshelves. I had no idea what happened on the production line after my own books were written and edited and it has been a huge learning curve, which you can read more about here.
But from the moment I settled on the idea of The Book Room, I wanted to offer something unique to readers. I knew just how daunting it could be to go into a large bookstore not knowing where to start, so I came up with the idea of Writers Recommend where I would call on my friends from the book-world to curate a list of books for readers in each genre. It seemed to me no-one would know a genre better than those who write in it, after all, we are always swapping books with each other, pressing them into one another’s hands. Who better to recommend to readers than the writers themselves?
I have been thrilled to see just how supportive other writers have been to this idea, so not only will you find in my store (both physical and online) their wonderful books, but the four books within that genre that they cannot be without. These may be entry points for those new to the genre, they might be incredible finds for those who are already familiar with the genre, but above all they are books that these writers return to time and again, the ones that inspire their own work.
And speaking of which, you will also find many of the books that inspire me too. I am so excited to share my own favourite books with you. There is no book in my store that I haven’t handpicked for you.
This site is more than just a bookshop. Take a look around, you will find writing advice from myself and other writers here, you will find the blog of how I set up the bookshop here, you will find an archive of Writers Recommend here where you can read why they’ve chosen the books they have, listen to the podcast of our chat together, or watch it on You Tube.
Treat this site as if you would a physical store, spend time having a browse, fall down that rabbit hole, discover a new book or author, dip your toe into a genre you wouldn’t ordinarily, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for ask at the till, I can get you any book delivered almost always within 48 hours.
And speaking of the physical store, if you’re in Tunbridge Wells, come and visit me at my pop-up. You will find The Book Room inside The Bloom Foundry, until Christmas — 55 St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9TP.
I look forward to see you there!