UK indies rally for destroyed Gaza bookshop

UK indies rally for destroyed Gaza bookshop

Independent bookshops and publishers have joined a crowdfunding appeal to rebuild a community bookshop in Gaza, after it was destroyed by an Israeli missile last week. 

Samir Mansour Library was obliterated before a ceasefire was called after 11 days of conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. More than 250 people were killed, with most fatalities in Gaza. 

A fundraiser is being run by Mahvish Rukhsana and Clive Stafford Smith, founder of not-for-profit organisation Reprieve. All the funds raised will be given to Samir Mansour, who owned the two-storey building, which also served as a community centre and published local authors.

Dorset-based publisher and bookshop Little Toller is among the UK indies to have pledged its support, alongside Bluemoose Books and Indie Bookshops UK, an organisation which maps and lists every independent bookshop in the UK.

The aim is to provide Mansour with the funds to rent a new space and re-create the bookshop. More than 2,500 people have donated so far, raising more than $120,000 towards the $250,000 goal.

Speaking to The Bookseller, Kevin Duffy, publisher and co-founder of Bluemoose Books, said: "I think any bookshop or publisher that has been reduced to rubble needs our help. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, readers want stories and books to get them through some dark and difficult times. Bookshops should be oasis of calm where creativity and imagination are set free.

"We have seen in the past 12 months the publishing and bookselling community working together and helping each other and that generosity should be extended to the book readers of Gaza too."