EVENTS at the shop:

26 June, 2019: Esmé Weijun Wang at The Second Shelf

Join us in welcoming Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias, to The Second Shelf. Esmé will perform a reading before joining A N Devers in discussion about the work. This will be followed by a short audience Q&A. 'Esmé Weijun Wang was officially diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2013, although the hallucinations and psychotic episodes had started years before that. In the midst of a high functioning life at Yale, Stanford and the literary world, she would find herself floored by an overwhelming terror that 'spread like blood', or convinced that she was dead, or that her friends were robots, or spiders were eating holes in her brain. What happens when your whole conception of yourself is turned upside down? When you're aware of what is occurring to you, but unable to do anything about it?'

Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of the New York Times-bestselling memoir The Collected Schizophrenias and the novel The Border of Paradise, which was one of NPR's Best Books of 2016. She received a 2018 Whiting Award, was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017, and was the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize in 2016. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, Esmé lives in San Francisco, and can be found at and on Twitter @esmewang. Tickets here.

28 June, 2019: Book Launch: Sofia Coppola: The Politics of Visual Pleasure, by Anna Backman Rogers

In conversation with Dr Felicity Gee, Anna Backman Rogers, author of Sofia Coppola: The Politics of Visual Pleasure will discuss some of the pervasive misunderstandings over Coppola's images and why she is, in fact, a feminist auteure. All too often, the movies of Sofia Coppola have been dismissed as 'all style, no substance'. But such an easy caricature, as this engaging and accessible survey of Coppola’s oeuvre demonstrates, fundamentally misconstrues what are rich, ambiguous, and meaningful films.

Drawing on insights from feminist philosophy and psychology, the author here takes an original approach to Coppola, exploring vital themes from the subversion of patriarchy in The Virgin Suicides to the 'female gothic' in The Beguiled. As Rogers shows, far from endorsing a facile and depoliticised postfeminism, Coppola’s films instead deploy beguilement, mood, and pleasure in the service of a robustly feminist philosophy. Tickets here.

4 July, 2019: A Celebration of Elizabeth Hardwick at The Second Shelf

Join The Second Shelf and Faber to celebrate the latter’s re-issues of Elizabeth Hardwick’s 1974 virtuoso essay collection Seduction and Betrayal, and the haunting Sleepless Nights, first published in 1979. Faber's striking new editions feature original forewords by Deborah Levy and Eimear McBride, and will introduce Hardwick’s genius to a new generation of readers. The event will feature short readings from Hardwick’s books, followed by a panel discussion in which The Second Shelf’s Managing Editor Lucy Scholes will be joined by the writer and critic Brian Dillon, author and academic Lara Feigel, and writer and co-editor of The White Review Francesca Wade, after which there will be an audience Q&A.

Hardwick (1916 - 2007), who was educated at the University of Kentucky and Columbia, was a co-founder of The New York Review of Books. She wrote more than a hundred pieces for the magazine, three novels, a biography of Herman Melville, and four collections of essays. Susan Sontag, Joan Didion and Derek Walcott numbered amongst her fans, with Walcott calling her 'the best prose writer in America.'Tickets here.

11 July, 2019: Ariana Reines X The Second Shelf

We are ecstatic to welcome poet Ariana Reines to The Second Shelf to celebrate the publication of The Sand Book, as well as the publication of The Second Shelf's first poetry broadside, "How to Wear It" printed by Hurst Street Press.

The poem was first commissioned and published in our first magazine and was inspired by Sylvia Plath's tartan skirt, which is for sale and will be on display.

We then had it printed as a broadside byHurst Street Press and it will be signed by Reines for the first time, shipped to customers who have pre-ordered (or who would like to pick up in the shop.) It is considered a fundraiser for our business and some are still available, if you would like to reserve one, you can do so here, or you can purchase it as an add-on through Eventbrite.

Reines will be in conversation with writer and The Second Shelf proprietor A. N. Devers. We are wildly excited and consider this a wrap party for the first magazine, a celebration of our bookshop, of one of our favourite poets and her new book The Sand Bar (released in the US by Tin House 18/06/19, forthcoming in the UK).

We will also have a number of first editions of Reines's work for sale.

Ariana Reines is the author of Mercury (2011), The Cow (2006), and Coeur de Lion (2007). Her play Telephone was produced at the Cherry Lane Theater and won several Obie awards. Reines was the 2009 Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California Berkeley; she has taught master classes at Pomona College, the University of California Davis, and the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in New York, NY.

A Sand Book is a poetry collection in nine parts, a travel guide that migrates from wildfires to hurricanes, tweety bird to the president, lust to aridity, desertification to prophecy, and mother to daughter. It explores the negative space of what is happening to language and to consciousness in our strange and desperate times. From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the sand in the gizzards of birds to the desertified mountains of Haiti, from Attar’s “Conference of the Birds” to Chaucer’s “Parliament of Fowls” to Twitter, A Sand Book is about change and quantification, the relationship between catastrophe and cultural transmission. It moves among houses of worship and grocery stores, flitters between geological upheaval and the weird weather of the Internet. In her long-awaited follow-up to Mercury, Reines has written her most ambitious work to date, but also her most visceral and satisfying.

Tickets here.

16 July, 2019: GRITS, by Lili Hamlyn at The Second Shelf

Join Hurst Street Press and The Second Shelf in celebrating the publication of Lili Hamlyn's GRITS. Lili will discuss her debut work with A N Devers, the proprietor of The Second Shelf. As much an essay on inheritance and agency as a memoir of four generations of women, Lili Hamlyn’s GRITS is above all the search for a register of thought and address. From a history of her great-grandmother’s near-Southern Gothic roots in Arkansas to an account of her mother’s death from cancer in London, Hamlyn’s startling self-disclosure eschews the mawkish and the flippant, adopting a constitutive, unembarrassed honesty from which to ask the fundamental questions of what we owe our dead, and how we should memorialise them.

Intimate but unsentimental, written in prose that is freewheeling yet exactingly precise, Hamlyn dismantles the clichés surrounding death and grief, and instead confronts the limits of bodily sovereignty, the hard work of loving and the labour involved in our duty of care to those closest to us. Tickets here.

Fairs, FESTIVALS, & Conferences:

Check back for upcoming news of appearances


20 June, 2019: The Second Shelf Salon: Sara Collins

19 June, 2019: Book Launch: Rules for Visiting, by Jessica Francis Kane

13 June, 2019: Book Launch: insect & lilac, by Amy Key and Rebecca Perry

7 June, 2019: Books and Books by Women with A N Devers, at Firsts: London’s Rare Book Fair

June 6-7, 2019 London Antiquarian Book Fair

6 June, 2019: Book Launch: The Ungrateful Refugee, by Dina Nayeri

31 May, 2019: Book Launch, Blitz Writing, by Inez Holden

23 May, 2019: The Second Shelf Salon: Wayétu Moore

March 27-30, 2019 AWP 2019, Portland, Oregon

22 March, 2019: Book Launch: What Not, by Rose Macaulay

15 March, 2019: The Second Shelf x Ache - An Evening of Readings

11 March, 2019: A Public Space + The Second Shelf Celebrate Bette Howland

Sept 7-9, 2018: Cardiff Book Festival

Sept 8-9, 2018: Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair

Sept 14 & 15, 2018: York National Premium Fair

Sept 18 & 19, 2018: INK London

May 25 & 26, 2018: London Antiquarian Book Fair

May 15, 2018: Rare Book London: The Book Collector Presents Modern First Editions

Bristol Women’s Literature Festival