New Saffron Walden bookshop officially opens its doors

Bestselling author Jojo Moyes (centre left) cuts the ribbon to officially open Hart's Books, with (l

Bestselling author Jojo Moyes (centre left) cuts the ribbon to officially open Hart's Books, with (left to right) town mayor Heather Asker, shop manager Max Shorter, author Jill Dawson, W Hart and Son's Martin Turnbull, and author Clare Mulley - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden-based bestselling author Jojo Moyes cut the ribbon to officially open the town’s new bookshop on Wednesday night (May 11).

More than 100 people attended the celebration at Hart’s Books, which began trading around three weeks ago from its King Street location.

Among the guests were authors Clare Mulley, Jill Dawson, and Barbara Nadel, as well as Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst and town mayor Heather Asker.

Hart’s manager Max Shorter gave a short speech before inviting Jojo, whose book Me Before You has been turned into a major Hollywood film, to address the crowd.

Speaking to the Reporter, Jojo said: “I think I was the most excited person in the whole of Saffron Walden when I heard the news. I remember the day that Hart’s closed, and it feels very right to have the kind of bookshop that the town needs and deserves.

“It’s been great chatting to the dedicated booksellers and I’m so pleased to hear that the shop is thriving so far. It is also very important that people support the shop. As good as Amazon is, I think everyone needs to think about paying an extra 50p or £1 in order to keep places like this open and available to everyone.

“I remember wandering through bookshops as a kid and I don’t think you can beat getting lost among the shelves.”

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Manager Max Shorter said: “It was a great evening and lovely to see so many local authors supporting the event. I thought Jojo’s speech was fantastic, and I was really pleased that customers got to meet her and all the others. We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of everyone in the town since we opened.”

The shop is the new venture from London-based independent bookseller Daunt Books, and Hart’s is their first to open outside of the capital.

An agreement was reached in January between Daunt and W Hart and Son, whose own bookshop closed in 2007, to use the name Hart’s for the new store.