This weekend is the grand opening of Storyville Books, an independent bookshop set up by Wales Arts Review’s Cerith Mathias in partnership with Jeff Baxter.
Although Pontypridd’s town centre boasts a growing collection of independent retailers, this weekend will see the opening of Rhondda Cynon Taf’s only independent bookshop. Co-owned by Wales Arts Review’s own Cerith Mathias and town councillor Jeff Baxter, Storyville Books is set to be the new go-to for bibliophiles of the Valleys.
‘We’re excited to open the doors this weekend and welcome everyone to the shop,’ said Mathias. ‘Our hope is that Storyville Books will become a central part of the vibrant community here in Pontypridd, becoming a place for people to share their passion for books and for reading.’
This adds to the list of Mathias’ successes in the book industry, following on from her work as curator for Safer Wales’ Feminist Library and as Director of both Cardiff Book Festival and Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival, where she and Baxter first began working together.
Their shop will sell a variety of titles for all ages and interests, featuring the latest fiction and non-fiction titles as well as Welsh-language novels and a children’s corner for young bookworms. Mathias explains, however, that Storyville Books will be more than just an ordinary bookshop, promoting a strong sense of community by showcasing local talent and providing ‘a hub for booklovers of all ages and tastes to come and discuss their favourite titles and authors, hopefully leading to the discovery of many more new favourites along the way.’ Storyville Books will also bring UK and international best selling authors to the Welsh town for author talks and book signings throughout the year.
Located on Pontypridd’s Mill Street, Storyville Books will be celebrating its grand opening on Saturday the 19th of June. The event begins at 10am and offers a packed programme of events. At 11am, Town Mayor Carl Thomas will officially open the shop in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Patch the Ponty Panda, the popular mascot of Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival, will visit at 12pm, followed by Gary Raymond who will sign copies of his recently-released novel Angels of Cairo. To bring the day to a close, illustrator Rebecca Harry and BBC Wales news anchor and children’s author Lucy Owen will be signing copies of their new book Flower Girl. The shop’s first ten customers will be treated to a Storyville Books goody bag and all other visitors throughout the day will receive a £5 National Book Tokens voucher.
The opening of Storyville Books falls not only at the beginning of Independent Bookshop Week (19th–26th of June), but also at a pivotal moment in the development of Pontypridd town centre, which has undergone a recent transformation and now features new leisure facilities, offices and a library.
‘We’re passionate about Pontypridd and our community and are looking forward to being part of the exciting developments taking place across the town,’ said Baxter. ‘With the wonderful new library, the revamping of the Muni Arts Centre and the new YMCA building opening, as well as the existing cultural institutions and groups here, we feel very lucky to be launching Storyville Books at such a crucial time and look forward to being a central part of Pontypridd’s bright future.’
Visit Storyville Books at 8 Mill Street from 10am this Saturday to get involved in their exciting events.
To keep up to date with Storyville Books, follow the shop on social media. Twitter: @storyvillebook; Facebook: @StoryvilleBooksPontypridd; Instagram: @storyvilleponty.
To purchase books from Storyville Books, you can also visit their online shop.