Waterstones stores across the country will host midnight openings to celebrate the release of Harper Lee’s forthcoming novel Go Set a Watchman (William Heinemann), while the company’s flagship Piccadilly shop will host a festival. M.d. James Daunt has called the launch a "thrilling" event.
Stores including Glasgow, Manchester Deansgate, Leeds, Liverpool, and Nottingham will put on events on the night of Monday 13th July, before selling the first copies of Go Set a Watchman at 12.01am on Tuesday 14th July.
Waterstones Piccadilly will host a festival on 13th July in the run up to a midnight opening, with exclusive panel discussions, including one hosted by Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty and the chair of judges for the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The shop will also have an after-hours screening of the 1962 film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Piccadilly shop will also host an exhibit of the winning entries to Penguin Random House’s Go Set a Watchman fanart competition.
Other shops, including Cardiff and Macclesfield, will open early on 14th July for breakfast celebrations.
Waterstones has already launched a “major” online and in-store pre-order campaign for Go Set a Watchman, which features some of the same characters as Lee’s bestselling book To Kill a Mockingbird.
The retailer has worked with Penguin Random House to create an exclusive £12.99 edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the first US edition published in 1960.
Activity for Go Set a Watchman will be held throughout July in Waterstones.
On Wednesday 1st July, all 276 Waterstones in the UK will host a discussion of To Kill A Mockingbird, inviting readers to join them at their local shop to discuss and celebrate the classic novel.
A number of shops will be adding to their reading group events with extra activities including Lee-inspired quizzes and Southern-themed refreshments.
Readers will be invited to return to their local Waterstones on Wednesday 29th July for a discussion about Go Set a Watchman.
James Daunt, m.d. of Waterstones, said: “The publication of Go Set a Watchman is a thrilling event. We open our shops at midnight to queues of excited customers only very rarely - in my career for Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera way back in 1988, then the run from 1999 to 2007 for J K Rowling and now, most unexpectedly and seemingly miraculously, for Harper Lee in 2015. It is wonderful in the meantime that so many people are discovering, and re-discovering, To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Cornerstone’s director of publicity and media relations, Charlotte Bush, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Waterstones on the campaign for Go Set a Watchman. It is so exciting to see such a huge national take up with many displays already in place and reading group events, screenings of To Kill a Mockingbird and midnight openings planned around the country. The midnight opening at the Piccadilly store in London will be the hub of publication activity – a Harper Lee festival – and we can’t wait to don our dungarees and join in.”