BookWyrm, a new independent bookshop has opened in Durham’s historic Market Hall in the City Centre. In an Instagram post, the owners Miles (he/him) and Chris (he/they) described it as a “warm, welcoming and whimsical safe space”.
The opening of the bookshop comes just days after local council leaders renewed their pledge to encourage more independent vendors into the city after the closure of H&M in the Prince Bishop Shopping Centre.
In a statement to Palatinate, BookWyrm, whose name is based on the County Durham legend Lambton Worm, said “BookWyrm is overjoyed to introduce an independent queer-owned bookshop to Durham city centre! We’re looking forward to helping you find new books by indie authors and small press while providing a safe and welcoming space for all.”
When asked about the importance of being an independent business and a queer space, Chris, one of the owners, said to Palatinate “We’ve lived in Durham city together for 5 years now and Miles has lived here his whole life. During that time we’ve always felt the need for a permanent queer safe space. The LGBTQ+ community is so lively across the whole county and beyond but there’s a lack of queer-owned bookshops in the North East.
“We always saw Independent Bookshops as spaces for communities to get together and bond over shared interests, and have seen this at markets in the past with our stall swiftly becoming a hang-out space even on busy highstreets. We attended Durham Pride as BookWyrm for the first time this year and it was incredible to see the excitement and that the need for a space like ours is shared.”
BookWyrm has also been vocal about their want to be involved in the local community saying that they are “excited for BookWyrm to be involved in the local community” and that they would like “to bring books by independent local authors onto our shelves, introducing new and unique stories to the spotlight!”
The opening of the bookshop comes as H&M closes this week. In a comment to The Northern Echo Cllr Elizabeth Scott said the closure “reinforces the strategy that the Parish Council is taking, in encouraging and supporting independent retailers”
BookwWyrm can be found in market hall Durham in Unit 12 and opens on the 25th of July, with the ribbon being cut at 10 am.
Image Credit: BookWyrm