Lewes is unusual to have so many independent bookshops in the town. There are rare books, new books, childrens books, remaindered books as well as literary events and festivals. Lewes also has a new and well equipped library.

Image from Bag of Books

Bag of Books

Bag of Books bookshop is just for children and they not only have a wonderful range of books and well chosen games, but they also run regular events – story telling for toddlers and regular book signings (Jaqueline Wilson caused quite a stir with a two hour queue and well worth the wait). They choose carefully and always have the latest range of fiction and non fiction. A fantastic gift is a monthly subscription where children receive a book, chosen by Bag of Books, every month. My grandchild’s first book from that gift was “Bad Nana”. Perfect choice!

Boon Books

Boon Books in Lewes High Street, is a treasure trove of remaindered and overstock books for children and adults so a great place to browse.

Rare Books: Bow Windows & Fifteenth Century Bookshop

For those who like rare books, Bow Windows is a must as is The Fifteenth Century Bookshop, with a website aptly named They specialises in secondhand and collectable children’s books. Browse in a wonderful historic building.


Not entirely independent but a great community bookshop in a historic building. “The books have been selected by our experienced and knowledgeable staff to reflect the eclectic tastes and literary heritage of Lewes”. Waterstones Lewes

Literary Events

Charleston Festival brings together today’s most exciting writers, artists and changemakers to engage with art and ideas. Imagine the world differently through our programme of talks, conversations and performances.

Lewes Literary Festival has a great line up of speakers each year (booking now).

The Lewes Literary Society runs an annual programme of talks and readings by distinguished speakers from many areas of literary endeavour – novelists, poets, playwrights, biographers, historians, literary critics and travel writers, as well as illustrators and cartoonists. Leonard Woolf was president of the Club from 1954 until 1969, and their current presidents are Grace Nichols and John Agard.

The Lewes Live Literature Festival was established as a regular late autumn extravaganza in 2001 and ran uninterrupted until 2007. Working across traditional artform boundaries, the festival specialised in bringing together spoken word with performance, music, film and visual art. Forthcoming events and productions can be seen on their website

Needlewriters is a co-operative of poets and prose writers in Lewes, East Sussex. Each quarter they present an evening of poetry and prose, showcasing some of our finest writers in a friendly and welcoming venue.

Lewes Library

If we have omitted your literary society please get in touch