Situated in the heart of Norwich in the Lanes area of the city, The Book Hive is a beautiful three storey building housing a unique collection of books in a quirky and stylish setting. As the city’s only truly independent new bookshop, it stocks a personally chosen and intriguing selection of titles, often hard to find elsewhere, in five main categories; Fiction, Poetry, Art & Design, Children’s Books and Cookery.
As a place that celebrates the beauty of printed material, our stock is displayed in such a way as to maximise the visual impact of book design. The building itself has been lovingly renovated inside, combining the old charm and character of the original design with a playful sense of fun and panache. It is a place to visit, browse and spend time reading as much as it is a place to come and buy books.
Our large glass shop front acts as an extension of that invitation to spend time here, hosting both live literary events played out into the street, as well as large scale art works by local artists and interesting book displays. We also host regular readings and book launches in the shop, as well as other non-book related occasions such as cookery classes, coffee tastings, record launches and even a superhero training day.
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 and first in the East in The Independent’s Top 50 Bookshops in the UK. It was also named as one of Harvill Secker’s Twelve Bookshops for Christmas in 2012. Manager Rory Hill was shortlisted for the Booksellers Association 'Young Retailer of the Year' award in 2014.
Propolis is a new imprint based at The Book Hive in Norwich, where both Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing and Jonathan Gibbs’ Randall were picked up by the owner when it was home to Galley Beggar Press.
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. The first title from Propolis - 'Ariadne's Thread: In Memory of W.G. Sebald' is available on the site.
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 Simon Gough's The White Goddess: An Encounter, Jonathan Gibbs' Randall and 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.
Rory Hill joined The Book Hive in 2012, becoming shop Manager in 2014 when he was also shortlisted for the Bookseller Awards Young Retailer of the Year. After spending time as Assistant Editor of Galley Beggar Press, he joined up with Henry Layte to set up Propolis. He is also the co-founder and writer of the SHhhh Beginners Guide to Norwich.
S E Craythorne is a bookseller with over ten years experience. She is also a writer who has been published in both poetry and prose. Her first novel, How You See Me, was published by Myriad Editions in 2015.
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.