Featured Bookshop: Outwith Books, Glasgow

Posted on April 15, 2021

This month we interviewed Natalie, founder of Outwith Books – a unique bookshop and writing community in Glasgow’s Govanhill.


When did you found Outwith Books? How did it all start? 

I first had an idea for a communal writing space that would also sell books – and opened Outwith in this form back in summer 2019. After the lockdowns started to kick in, I offered an online book ordering service and then decided to go full time as a bookshop in October 2020, when restrictions lifted. The response was amazing and we’re really excited to get the next chapter of the shop’s life going this spring.

What’s your favourite thing about bookselling?

The unpredictability. People come in looking for books to match such specific moments in their lives – and the personal stories that dovetail with reading habits are always thought-provoking. It’s also great to see a young writer’s career spark off the back of a debut – our customers have been really supportive of independent publishing houses who seek out new talents.

What’s the bookshop all about? What can readers expect to see on your shelves?

Since we started as a place for writing stories, it is fiction and short stories that dominate. We have a bit of a leaning towards indie presses and I try to get a good cross-section of literature in translation. But we also have non-fiction geared towards our community’s interests in social justice, literary travel and essays from original thinkers.

What are you looking forward to most about bookshops reopening?

Letting the mind wander for a bit, and seeing what someone else has curated, rather than waiting for an algorithm to second-guess you – I think that’s what people have missed, and we’ve spent some of this last lockdown period making the environment of the bookshop as pleasant as possible for browsing. I’m looking forward to that feeling of coming home with a stash of new books.

What are you currently reading?

White Nights by Dostoevsky – and then I’ve got Dostoevsky in Love by Alex Christofi, and after that I’m looking forward to The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper. I’m also reading lots of non-fiction around urban planning as research for my book The 15-Minute City. Building and Dwelling by Richard Sennett is particularly inspiring.

Do you have a favourite Saraband title (something you’ve read or something you’re looking forward to)?

Yes – I’m really looking forward to In a Veil of Mist by Donald S Murray – the perfect enticing blend of history and mystery, by an understated writer.


Outwith Books reopens on 1st May.

A huge thank you to Natalie. We can’t wait to visit you when restrictions permit.