In the heart of Grasmere lies a cosy little book shop that has been providing the community with great literature since 1887. The booksellers at Sam Read have been big supporters of And Other Stories and most recently our inaugural Northern Book Prize winner Amy Arnold recorded a reading from her prize winning Slip of a Fish in the store.

We caught up with bookseller Will Smith to hear about his excitement for our upcoming Lina Wolff novel, The Polyglot Lovers, and what it’s like to work in a UNESCO World Heritage site such as the Lake District.

What is your favourite thing about Sam Read Bookseller?

Meeting people, talking about books with them and finding out the million and one connections people have to Grasmere and the Lake District.


How / why did you get into bookselling?

Our beloved leader in the good ship Sam Read is Elaine Nelson. Elaine has always been passionate about books and a firm village supporter of the shop. When the previous owner Margaret Hughes retired in 2000,  she keenly took up the gauntlet and you can feel that love in the shelves. Gill, myself and Kim can also be found in rotating order behind the desk and have all patiently waited to get the chance to work at the shop.

Sam Read Bookseller display

What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?

This is like choosing a favourite child… I’ll say Ann Quin’s The Unmapped Country, stories and fragments gathered by Jennifer Hodgson.


What book published in 2018 do our readers need to get their hands on?

Amy Arnold’s Slip of A Fish. It’s a lyrical, funny and thought-provoking read.

Sam Read Bookseller shelves

What book are you most looking forward to publishing in 2019?

Tied between Lina Wolff’s The Polyglot Lovers translated by Saskia Vogel and Ann Quin’s Berg, which I’ve just this moment got my hands on an advance copy of. Eeeeek.


What would be your desert island book?

Mine would be Francis Pollock’s Jupiter Eight.

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