Afrori Books to set up shop after smashing crowdfunding target

Afrori Books to set up shop after smashing crowdfunding target

The first Black-owned bookshop in Brighton will throw open its doors later this month, after smashing its crowdfunding campaign target.

Afrori Books will be welcoming customers to the premises at Kensington Street in Brighton's North Laine independent shopping district on 26th October. 

The campaign aimed to raise £10,000 to fit out the shop and, in just four weeks, the target was reached ahed of schedule. The crowdfunder closed on 8th October with a total of £12,460.

Founder Carolynn Bain started an online bookshop last year after George Floyd was murdered in the US. Her intention was to create a place where books by Black authors could easily be found and to give them a platform they did not seem to have in other bookshops.

Speaking to The Bookseller last month, the former events manager (pictured, below right) said she was on the receiving end of some "particularly horrible messages" when local newspapers covered the plans. "I expected it," she said. "I'm a Black woman and I've lived in this country a long time."

Despite this, the online store has continued to thrive and was part of a BBC World Service documentary which aired in September. Bain was approached by social enterprise charity Lighthouse in October 2020, which encouraged her to set up a physical shop. 

Commenting on the support she has received and the campaign's results, Bain said: “I am completely blown away by the love the public has shown to our dream of making Brighton an anti-racist city. The night we hit the target I sobbed, I was so overwhelmed."

The bookshop aims to be a community space drawing in authors and young creatives from all over Sussex and the country. The company has plans for creative writing evenings, a book club, children’s story times, training to help teachers integrate diverse books into classrooms and much more. Bain is committed to employing people on a fair wage and is seeking staff from marginalised groups who have found it difficult to find employment.

She added: “Changing the way people read is fundamental to affecting their outlook and reading habits for life, and it is through reading that we can have the greatest impact on attitudes to racism in the future. Afrori Books is changing the world, one book at a time."