The Bath Autumn Book Festival is run by booksellers at Topping & Company. We’re people very much steeped in the real book world - unpacking books, shelving them, making coffee, recommending, championing books and talking to publishers and indeed hosting author events. It is always a pleasure for us at the end of the day to sit down with fellow readers and listen to a writer speak. Our events don’t just involve a conversation taking place in front of spectators. Instead, they offer a richer experience with the emphasis on authors speaking directly to, and engaging with the audience.
The festival takes place in Bath’s beautiful city centre. There is a great independent spirit here and a thriving arts scene amidst the elegant Georgian splendour. Bath is one of the most desirable places to visit - for its history, architecture, spa, and nearby hills. This is a city rich in culture, which supports many arts festivals including the celebrated Literary Festival in the Spring.
The Bath Autumn Book Festival has good working relationships with the finest venues in Bath.
In 2012, the Festival held events at the Forum (1600 people came to see Michael Palin), Bath Royal Scientific and Literary Institution, St. Swithin’s Church, St. Michael’s Church, St. Mary’s Bathwick, Christ Church, the Museum of Bath at Work, the Assembly Rooms, and of course in the Bookshop itself.
After a degree and research in Ancient History, Robert started his bookselling life under the regimen of Christina Foyle. He and Louise both worked for Tim Waterstone in the very early days of the company before moving North to set up the Deansgate Waterstone’s in Manchester. Deansgate became renowned throughout the country for its literary events, its knowledgeable and passionate booksellers and for a vast range of interesting titles. Under new ownership, Waterstone’s changed its nature, Tim Waterstone left and the company adopted a centralised, corporate model, with which Robert did not wish to comply. He was rather publicly sacked in June 2000 and after a couple of years with Macmillan, Robert and Louise set up their first bookshop in 2002 in the historic and atmospheric city of Ely, in the Fens of Cambridgeshire.
Since opening in Bath five years ago, Topping & Company has hosted an impressive all-year-round events programme. A rich and sparkling history of author events includes authors such as Stephen Fry, Nigella Lawson, Alan Bennett, Margaret Atwood, David Attenborough, Sebastian Faulks, Michael Palin, Julian Barnes and Terry Pratchett, amongst many.
The bookshops in Bath and Ely offer a vast range of the most interesting books including university presses and US editions - there are around 50,000 titles in each bookshop. With complimentary tea and coffee for book lovers, these are vibrantly independent havens for real bibliophiles.
“One of the finest bookshops in the world.” - Alexander McCall Smith
“This is certainly one of the nicest bookshops I’ve ever been in” - Brian Sewell
“Slave-driving swine” - Stephen Fry
Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath
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