Enid Stephenson and her late husband Chris established The Hungate Bookshop in Norwich in 1980 and ran it until 1993, when they relocated to Hebden Bridge (and were active in the arts festival scene for many years, while continuing their work with the Federation of Children’s Book Groups and the Society of Authors, among other bodies).
The Stephensons – who met while working at the Observer in London in the 70s; Enid (who had been a publicist for Methuen and Andre Deutsch) in promotions, Chris in advertising – wanted a venue large enough to hold events, and The Hungate Bookshop was a vital hub of literary activity, hosting book launches – including Jan’s first launch, in March 1986, for Out of the Oven – weekend conferences, and more. The Book Bus (pictured below) safely delivered writers to their readers’ doorstep. Authors gathered to welcome colleagues from abroad – including a contingent of Canadian writers in a reciprocal visit, when the Arts Council refused to return the favour – or to speak for or against significant causes, such as opposing a government move to apply VAT to books.
Enid’s photographs offer a priceless chronicle of the book world over nearly two decades. They’re too good to miss! So here is a selection of images of some of the many children’s authors whom Chris and Enid hosted … and Stephen Fry. Just because.
Authors campaign against a proposal to introduce VAT on books …