Tag Archives: Persephone Books

Persephone Books-Publisher and Bookseller


Persephone Books is my favourite bookshop in the world. I live in Australia and discovered this bookshop online. Since then the people at Persphone Books have kindly sent me The Persephone Biannually. The first one I received (I have kept them all) was No. 9 Spring/Summer 2011 and the most recent No. 25 Spring/Summer 2019. I also have two catalogues, 1999-2011 and 1999-2017 these can now be found online

The people at Persphone Books are charming and when I was in London last year (I took the photo above) I visited the shop in Bloomsbury for the first time. I was fortunate to meet Nicola Beauman and Lydia. I bought Nicola’s book, A Very Great Profession which I enjoyed very much.

And, they stop for tea and cake at 4 o’clock.

If you are in London make sure to visit this wonderful bookshop, it’s just around the corner from the Charles Dickens Museum. We loved wandering around this lovely part of London with the past all around us. I keep seeing, in my minds eye, Persephone Books at 4 o’clock on a rainy London afternoon, the kettle on the heat, and slices of cake, Victoria sponge perhaps, on flower-covered plates.


From Persephone Books website:

The Persephone shop and office is in Lamb’s Conduit Street.  Our Grade II Listed building was built in 1702–3 and for some years was on the northern edge of London. The street was developed by Nicholas Barbon, an economist, quoted by Marx on the second page of Das Kapital, who invented fire insurance after the Great Fire of London. Formerly called Red Lion Street, the present name derives from the conduit provided by a William Lamb, from which water ran through open wooden pipes down to the city. ‘Plenty of panelling and staircases of this date remain behind some of the later re-fronting (eg. No. 59)’ comments the modern Pevsner, praising ‘a lively local shoppping street, a rarity now in inner London, with enjoyable C19 shopfronts’.

The basement remains virtually unchanged (even the beautiful twisted balusters so typical of Barbon’s buildings are still in place) and, for reasons of cost, will remain so. The ground floor is now the office of Persephone Books, with the wooden tables and bentwood chairs in place, the mangle in the west-facing york-paved yard, the shop front painted Persephone grey.

The nearest tube stations are Russell Square and Holborn. Here is a map of where we are.

All our books are available in the shop (although very occasionally a title goes out of print for a few weeks while we reprint).

59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB
Tel: 020 7242 9292

Opening hours 10–6 Monday to Friday, 11–5 Saturday, 12–4 Sunday

Warm wishes for a joyful week,



Filed under What Elise Wrote

Persephone Books, London


I have never visited the Persephone bookshop but plan to do so when I am next in London. They have kindly sent me The Persephone Biannually since I first discovered their books in 2011 and I recently received No 22 Autumn/Winter 2017-18. It is now available to read  on their website for overseas customers.

Persephone Books reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers. All of our 125 books are intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written and are chosen to appeal to busy people wanting titles that are neither too literary nor too commercial. We publish novels, short stories, diaries, memoirs and cookery books; each has an elegant grey jacket, a ‘fabric’ endpaper with matching bookmark, and a preface by writers such as Jilly Cooper, David Kynaston and Elaine Showalter.        Reference: Persephone website



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Interior Persephone Bookshop


And don’t you love the window display?

While the Christmas period is a busy one I made time to start a new novel and while it doesn’t have a working title as yet there is something magical about writing the first word of a new story on the first day of a new year.

‘For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.’ ~ T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

May the joys of the season be with you throughout the coming year.








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A Writer’s Notebook

There is a bookshop in London called Persephone Books.

Persephone was carried off by Hades and made queen of the underworld. Demeter refused to let the earth produce its fruits until her daughter was restored to her, but because Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds in the other world, she was obliged to spend part of every year there. Her story symbolises the return of spring and the life and growth of corn.

I like to think Persephone Books symbolise the return of forgotten women authors.

I subscribe to their blog and read on it recently of the death of Nova Pilbeam the most wonderful actress who never was. Duncan Hannah, a painter intrigued by Nova, although as far as I know he never met her, painted her and you can view his evocative picture of her and many others which I just love on his website.

My WIP (work-in-progress)  is set in WW2 in England. My finished novel will be published in 2016 by Allen and Unwin. It is set in Australia in WW2 and also in contemporary times and has two chapters set in Northern California.

Good writing

Elise x

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Persephone Books-May 2012 Newsletter

Persephone Books are exquisite. Take a look at their website. This is the May, 2012 newsletter.

30 May 2012
Well, we are ready for the Jubilee weekend – the Union Jack in the window (on the ironing board and plus iron) and the window boxes planted with red, white and blue petunias. We are all hoping that Sunday will be as glorious as this Canaletto – River Thames with St Paul’s Cathedral on Lord Mayor’s Day c. 1747-8.:

Then on Tuesday we are having a neighbours’ tea party – cucumber sandwiches and cake out of Emma Bridgewater cake tins.

When we were in Los Angeles we saw the posters for the new film called Hemingway and Gellhorn and we had a little giggle because of course we ¬– and every Persephone reader ¬ ¬– can’t wait to see the film: Martha Gellhorn was not only a journalist but an incredible novelist, A Stricken Field (1940) being probably her best novel, and Hemingway was, well, Hemingway. The reason for the giggle is that it’s hard to imagine the two words Gellhorn and Hemingway having even remotely mass appeal. No matter, the film is obviously memorable, here is a review, scroll down for the trailer; the sooner the film opens in the UK the better, we can’t wait.
Talking of incredible women – English Heritage has just put up four new blue plaque – and all to women: Constance Spry, Elizabeth Bowen, Jean Rhys and Elisabeth Welch.

And this English Heritage page makes it plain that they are working on putting up a plaque to Martha Gellhorn, as well as other hitherto unsung women. Talking of which, a Berthe Morisot exhibition has just finished in Paris. She was a spectacular artist. The Financial Times wrote about her here .‘The only woman to exhibit in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874, such was her standing that Degas declared: “We think Berthe Morisot’s name and talent are too important for us do without.” Yet Morisot was no Amazon….She suffered for her art, and her art suffered as a result. The oeuvre itself, top-heavy with images of women and children – in living-rooms, blossom-bursting gardens and sunlit, shady parks – testifies to an artist devoted to the domestic, intimate and private…It was Morisot’s fate to be born in an epoch that would have frowned on any woman painter who dared to venture, à la Monet and Caillebotte, into the public realm. (That women were only permitted to enrol in L’École des Beaux-Arts two years after her death, and that her death certificate recorded her as having “no profession” reveals much about the challenges she faced.)’

Another pioneering woman: the novelist Elizabeth Taylor. There will be a conference about her life and work in Cambridge on Saturday July 7th. Here are the abstracts of the papers that will be delivered. Anglia Ruskin has a tradition of hosting very good conferences about ‘neglected women writers’.
Most Persephone readers will be familiar with David Gentleman’s work, in part because he drew the shop for us in 2001 and his drawing is on our website here..He is a superb artist and now his new book London You’re Beautiful is bringing him new admirers. Here is a fascinating video about David and about the book.Tavistock Square is below. Congratulations too to his daughter Amelia Gentleman for winning the Orwell Prize for Journalism last week.

The Independent on Sunday ran an article abut Rachel Ferguson in which it called Alas, Poor Lady her most interesting book. And in 1976 Noel Streatfeild was on Desert Island Discs – you can listen to this here. And do look out for details of an exhibition by the brilliant Anne-Catherine Phillips .
Finally, last weekend Persephone Books was at the Steyning Literary Festival. There is a most beautiful walk from Steyning and the First World War poet Philip Johnson wrote this about it:
I can’t forget the lane that goes from Steyning to the Ring
In summer time, and on the Down how larks and linnets sing
High in the sun. The wind comes off the sea, and Oh the air!
I never knew till now that life in old days was so fair.
But now I know it in this filthy rat infested ditch
When every shell may spare or kill – and God alone knows which.
And I am made a beast of prey, and this trench is my lair
My God! I never knew till now that those days were so fair.

So we assault in half an hour, and – it’s a silly thing – 

I can’t forget the narrow lane to Chanctonbury Ring.
rNicola Beauman
59 Lambs Conduit Street
30 May 2012 I

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