You don’t even have to enter Lighthouse Bookshop to guess at its political leanings. A sign by the door declares that the shop is an “activist, intersectional, feminist, antiracist, LGBTQ community space”. The scattering of books in the windows cover topics from feminism to immigration to witchcraft (personally, I was most intrigued by a book titled ‘Witches, Sluts, Feminists’). Perhaps most strongly encompassing Lighthouse’s philosophy, however, are the two words scrawled onto an A-frame blackboard: everyone welcome.
Lighthouse Bookshop advertises itself as Edinburgh’s radical bookshop, and it’s easy to see why.
Situated on West Nicolson Street, the shop prides itself on giving space to a plethora of books that it would be difficult to find elsewhere.
Whilst you can still find all the popular fiction and non-fiction titles that you’d expect in a bookshop, there are also extensive and comprehensive sections dedicated to areas like LGBTQ and racial issues, Scottish politics, environmentalism, and intersectional feminism. There are resources for parents trying to support their transgender child, children’s books that explore the basics of feminism, thought-provoking memoirs of marginalised members of the community, books detailing complex political theory – the list feels truly endless.
Additionally, Lighthouse Bookshop is clearly concerned with building a community around the store, and have evidently succeeding in doing so. The space itself is cosy and welcoming, and it’s not uncommon to be offered a cup of tea by whoever is working that day. Lighthouse facilitates a number of different book clubs, including one club specifically for LGBTQ readers and one for women and non-binary people of colour.
They also hold several workshops and events, including talks and launch events by many of the renowned writers stocked there.
Currently, many of the events being advertised are associated with Edinburgh’s upcoming Radical Book Fair, which will be running from 14 to 17 November of this year.
Ultimately, this charming store is the perfect place for book lovers who find themselves looking for something a bit different.
Whether you’re seeking a novel with a protagonist that would typically be delegated to a supporting role, looking to understand a complex political issue in greater detail, or simply to hear from different voices, Lighthouse Bookshop can help.
Image: Frannie Wise