"Eclectic, thoughtful, and tempting - a must for book lovers visiting Norwich"
- Margaret Atwood
"The kind of place I dreamt of existing in Norwich when I was growing up"
- Stephen Fry
"One of the best bookshops I've ever been in"
- Ian McMillan
The Book Hive is a place that celebrates the beauty of printed material - as well as the pleasures of whimsical, alternative curation.
We display our stock in a way that maximises the visual impact of book design, liberally spreading titles over tables and shelves 'face out' wherever possible. The shop is also famous (or infamous) for foregoing traditional 'sections' in favour of mixes of the booksellers' personal picks, allowing for a unique browsing experience and the kind of serendipitous stumbling that more conservative layouts - or algorithms - cannot replicate.
The shop building itself has been lovingly renovated inside, combining the old charm and character of the original space with a playful sense of fun and panache. The overall effect - we hope - is an invitation to visit, browse, discuss and spend time reading, not just to come and buy books.
We host regular events in the shop, including a weekly quiet reading hour, author signings, and book launches, as well as other tangentially-book-related goings on.
The Book Hive opened in October 2009 and was named The Daily Telegraph’s Best Small Bookshop in Britain at the start of 2011.
It has since been a regional finalist in The Bookseller Best Bookshop Award several times, and won first place in the East in The Independent’s Top 50 Bookshops in the UK.
Propolis is the publishing imprint of The Book Hive.
Propolis specialises in idiosyncratic works which may not be able to find a home in the larger publishing market, or may even not have been considered for publication at all.
Henry Layte was a playwright and actor whose work has been performed across the UK and abroad both by others and his own theatre company, Rank Taxi. His fiction has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and published in a number of magazines. After moving back to his native Norfolk in 2008, having worked part-time in the bookshop at The National Theatre, he opened The Book Hive in October 2009. In January 2011 the shop was named Best Independent Bookshop in the UK by The Daily Telegraph. In the same year he co-founded Galley Beggar Press where he found and published, amongst other books, Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. In 2011 he was a Costa Book Award judge. After leaving Galley Beggar Press he set up Propolis, the publishing arm of The Book Hive.
Megan Bradbury has a passion for fiction writing, American History and long-distance running. She studied at the University of East Anglia, graduating with an MA in Creative Writing in 2005. She was the Charles Pick Fellow at UEA for 2012-13. In 2013 she won an Escalator Literature Award from the Writers' Centre Norwich and a Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England. She has worked as an editorial reader, copy-editor and researcher, and has read her work at literary events nationwide. Her first novel, Everyone is Watching, was published by Picador in 2016 to great acclaim.
Joe Hedinger used to work in marketing, innovation and research at places like the BBC – but in 2017, he followed an inner calling to return to the world of books (he studied English Literature at Oxford). A big believer in the well-being benefits of reading, his purpose now is simple: more books, to more people, in more ways. He also promotes playful creativity through Dog-Ear, the little bookmark magazine.