Waterstones Gower Street in London is set to be "rejuvenated" with a fresh programme of events after the appointment of Simon & Schuster publicity manager Elizabeth Preston to its team.
Preston has joined the retailer as its Gower Street events manager, and plans to hold niche reading groups, debates, literary salons, open mic nights, poetry readings and art installations at the shop in a bid to "put it on the map as a place buzzing with literary, cultural and intellectual activity".
At the same time Charlie Davies has joined the central Waterstones Events Team as central events coordinator on secondment, covering for Steven Cooper whilst he spends a year living in China.
Sandra Taylor, head of PR and events at Waterstones, said Davies would join the central team on secondment after overseeing the "total transformation of Manchester Deansgate’s events programme" which she said was now "one of the best in the business".
"He and the brilliant Deansgate team have hosted a range of high profile authors in their shop, including Jonathan Franzen, Yotam Ottolenghi, Hilary Mantel, Nigella Lawson, Donna Tartt, Bradley Wiggins and James Ellroy, as well as running a number of regular book groups, children’s activities and large-scale school events," Taylor said. "Charlie will now support Deansgate with the further development of its events programme as well as apply his considerable experience to support a wider number of our shops. I’m extremely happy that he’s joining the central team and will help support our shops in delivering more and better events for our customers.”
Luke Taylor, Waterstones London regional manager, said he was delighted the Gower Street events programme is set to be re-launched under Preston.
"It is a truly unique bookshop with over 25,0000 titles and rich tradition of being at the centre of publishing in Bloomsbury; it seems only fitting that someone of Elizabeth's experience, both as a bookseller and publicist, should be spearheading the rejuvenation of this great shop," he said. "Elizabeth's plan to create a social space that is a melting pot of intellectual debate is exactly what the shop needs and I can't wait to see it come to fruition.”
Preston added: “I first cut my teeth in the book trade working as a bookseller at Hatchards, and career-wise this was really my first love. My passion has always been championing the books that I genuinely love, and even when I was working as a publicist, in many ways, I always considered myself first and foremost a bookseller. As Gower Street’s events manager, my vision is to curate a programme of events which not only taps into the store's heritage as an academic bookshop, but also puts it on the map as a place buzzing with literary, cultural and intellectual activity."