Cool Bookish Places: Persephone Books in London

London is a great literary city, and one of it’s best bookish places is Persephone Books, a little bookstore (and publisher) tucked away on Lamb’s Conduit Street near Covent Garden.

Persephone Books

Persephone publishes reprints of “neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-century (mostly) women writers.” They were started in 1998 by Nicola Beauman and publish a few books a year – right now there are 112 available.

Stack of Persephone Books

A few years ago I got to visit Persephone’s bookshop in London. It was charming and the bookseller who was working that day kept saying “fab.” (I started saying “fab” a lot after that, but I’m not sure I pull it off.)

I restrained myself and only bought three books, but I wanted to take them all home with me.

Persephone Bookshop London

I first heard about Persephone in a book by Jane Brocket. I ordered their catalog online and have been drooling over it ever since.

They republish old novels (like Saplings, a novel about the effects of WWII on one family, by the author of Ballet Shoes) and cookbooks and diaries and more.

London's Persephone Books

They’ve just republished London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes, non-fiction first published in The New Yorker during WWII. One of my favorites is How to Run Your Home Without Help, a manual about housework for the newly servant-less homemaker. It’s interesting as a piece of domestic history… and honestly it still works as a practical guide to keeping a house, too.

Persephone Books stacks

So if you’re at all interested in reprinted novels, women writers, small publishers, life in England between the wars (hello Downton Abbey), or charming bookshops, definitely check out Persephone Books in London. It’s fab.

Persephone Books London