Selling books and promoting women’s rights – well, here’s a bookshop that can do both. The iconic Liverpool bookshop, News From Nowhere, has been at the heart of the city’s feminist movement since opening on May Day in 1974.
The radical community bookshop and not-for-profit women workers’ collective was set up by Bob Dent and Maggie Wellings. The shop took its name from the title of a utopian socialist novel by the textile designer, William Morris.
Since 1974, News From Nowhere has stocked left-wing political works and texts focused on social justice. At the time, these texts were not readily available at more conventional bookshops, and the shop’s commitment to selling radical work continues today, as well as featuring books on feminism, anti-racism and the LGBT+ movement.
News From Nowhere is particularly associated with feminism, both in terms of the way it is run and the books it sells. During the late 1970s, as more women joined the workers’ collective running the shop, News From Nowhere began to sell more feminist literature. By 1981, News From Nowhere had become an all-women workers’ collective, or cooperative.
A worker cooperative is a cooperative owned and self-managed by its workers, meaning there is no boss and no owner. A cooperative may also allow every worker-owner to participate in the decision-making in a democratic way, or it may have one manager who is elected by every worker-owner, who each have one vote. The Liverpool bookshop currently has seven members helping to run the bookshop.
The bookshop wasn’t always located on Liverpool’s Bold Street, in fact, it has moved a number of times to different premises across the city. When it first opened in 1974, News From Nowhere was based at what was Manchester Street, where the Mersey Tunnel now begins today. In 1977, the shop moved to Whitechapel, however during its time at this location, News From Nowhere was subjected to frequent politically-motivated attacks, including arson.
Luckily, the shop was supported by Liverpool’s progressive and feminist movements, who rallied in solidarity with the News From Nowhere collective. In 1989, the shop then moved to Bold Street and finally settled at number 96 in 1996.
An ever-expanding, carefully curated stock is the hallmark of News From Nowhere nowadays, “we aim to inform, challenge and educate through literature” as they put it. History, politics, local travel, poetry, and fiction can all be found within these walls, with authors and biographers pitching up for readings.
The building is also more than just a bookshop as the whole premises is dedicated to social justice housing organisations such as; Liverpool Pride; Next to Nowhere, a radical social centre built and run by activists from the Merseyside area; a Methodist church which is a spiritual community that helps disadvantaged people and bakes bread to give away to strangers; grassroots arts and culture magazine Nerve; and Language House where you can learn languages at great value.Browse for books here.
News From Nowhere, 96 Bold Street, L1 4HY