We are an independent general bookshop in Edinburgh – left leaning and politically engaged, we are a shelter for bibliophiles and an oasis for curious minds. We celebrate diversity of thought and expression, and encourage readers to engage with ideas both from the margins and mainstream. Our aim is to challenge dominant and domineering ideologies and champion diversity, equality, sustainability and free speech.
Our shelves are home to all sorts of books, from politics, history, fiction and travel writing to Children’s books, tattoo art and cookery. We are particularly passionate about radical, left wing and Scottish politics, intersectional feminism, revolutionary history, environmentalism, LGBT+ writing, poetry and translated fiction.
There has been a bookshop on West Nicolson Street for over 30 years – the Lighthouse is a new incarnation of the Word Power bookshop Elaine Henry opened here in 1994. We are still home to Word Power Books, an independent Scottish publisher.
Elaine’s departure in 2017 marked the end of an era, but also the beginning of a new one. My name is Mairi – I have been peddling books for independent bookshops for almost a decade, and for much of that time Word Power was a regular haunt of mine, a place to find and buy books on queer politics, activism, little known poetry, Palestine, feminism and much more. Books that simply didn’t live on the shelves of any other bookshop.
Keeping the bookshop alive is therefore a labour of love, a chance to usher in a new age for a radical bookshop that remains sorely needed.
This last year the team has grown into an eclectic, slightly eccentric literary ratpack, and though we all do a bit of everything (from watering the plants to unpacking boxes) everyone has their distinct passions:
Jim (he/him)- Political Philosophy wizard and sci-fi buff, Noor (she/her)- passionate about literature and liberation politics, from feminism to Palestine, Oli (he/him) -who oversees our growing zine collection and ever expanding LGBTQ shelves, Andrew (he/him)-our in house musician, he’s well versed in all things tech, rise of the robots and fun fiction, and Jess (she/her)- anti-racism activist, psychology PhD and a wonder with world literature.