Jenny Nimmo: Bookshop Q&A

  • Posted 08/10/2016

Jenny Nimmo: Bookshop Q&A


1.What’s your favourite bookshop?
My favourite bookshop is ‘booka’ in Oswestry. It is filled with wonderful things: great coffee, home-made cakes, the best greetings cards in the county, comfy sofas and BOOKS. How do they get everything in? There are tables of newly published books, some even signed by the authors, shelves of old favourites, Art, History, Gardening, Cooking, great picture books for children, and much talk of books.– So much enthusiasm. The staff are helpful and friendly, and people staring in through the wide, wide windows, must wonder why everyone looks so happily involved.

2.What’s your favourite bookshop memory?
I had just been reading and discussing one of my Charlie Bone books in a bookshop in California.  A party of school children had begun to file out of the shop when, suddenly, one of the little boys broke free and, running up to me, cried, ‘Please can I give you a hug?’

3.What book have you gifted the most?
The books I have gifted the most are probably from the Moomin series.

4.What’s been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller?
I find David Mitchell’s books extraordinary and inspirational. I hadn’t read, ‘The Bone Clocks’ before a bookseller recommended it it to me. I’m so glad that she did.

5.What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them?
Walking into a bookshop is like entering Aladdin’s Cave. No, it is better than that. Thoughts, words, ideas, truths are almost tangible. I go in with a very good idea of what I want, but am very soon seduced by other books. Where to start, what to choose? Sometimes it takes my breath away. You see, we live so far from town, an opportunity like this must be seized and savoured, yet I must choose before closing time.

6.What book is currently in your bag?
‘The Gustav Sonata’, by the brilliant Rose Tremain is currently in my book bag. I have only a few pages to go, but it is so heartbreakingly beautiful I never want it to end.

7.What book(s) will you be picking up during Books Are My Bag 2016? (6th – 8th October)
The next book on my list is ‘Birds without Wings’ by Louis de Bernieres. Ever since I read Orhan Pamuk’s great novel, ‘A Strangeness in my Mind’, I have been hungry for more of Turkey’s history, and from what I’ve heard of ‘Bird without Wings’, this seems just the sort of book I have been looking for.


Jenny Nimmo was born in Berkshire, but has lived in a converted watermill in Wales for the past thirty four years. Her husband is a painter and printmaker and they have three children and three grandchildren. She has worked in the theatre, in television and as a governess in Italy. For as long as she can remember, Jenny has loved books. She was six when she went to boarding school and reading was a wonderful escape, it allowed her to  believe that she was somewhere else. She begn to write her own stories when she was ten. She cannot help using magic in her work because myths legends and fairy-tales were her favourite reading as a child, and they have remained at the back of her mind ever since.In 1986 her book ‘The Snow Spider’ won the Smarties Grand Prix and, in 1987, was awarded the Tir na n’Og by the Welsh Arts Council. ‘The Rinaldi Ring’ was chosen as Guardian Book of the Week, and was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal, for which she received a commendation.Five of Jenny’s eight books about Charlie Bone in ‘The Children of the Red King’ series were on the New York Times bestseller list, and she has now completed ‘The Secret Kingdom Trilogy’ a prequel to the Charlie Bone Books..

Grayson Perry

'Pop in to your local bookshop. Book people are nice people and bookshops have become more than a place to buy books. In many small communities they are a valuable social hub for like-minded folks. But don't forget to buy a book too!'

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