Millionaire thriller writer James Patterson gifts grant to Newham Bookshop

Author James Patterson

Author James Patterson - Credit: Archant

He’s a multi-millionaire thriller writer best known as the author of the Alex Cross set of books, but James Patterson isn’t one to forget the industry that made him great.

The New Yorker, who has been on the front of Time Magazine, has gifted £130,000 to 73 independent bookshops around the UK and Ireland as part of his pledge to donate a total of £250,000 towards a campaign to “get children reading”.

Among them is the Newham Bookshop which has been granted £4,000 that it will put towards creating a children’s reading and activity room within the store and refurbishing its signs out front.

Vivian Archer, 27 years manager at the store in Barking Road, Upton Park, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and it really vindicates the work we have been doing in the area to develop reading among children.

“Getting the grant means we can continue to do even more.”

In order to be eligible for the funds, bookshops had to have a section dedicated to children’s books – no trouble for Newham who has an entire store filled with them next to its one for adults – and send in an application outlining what they would do with the money.

Mr Patterson said he had been “completely overwhelmed” by the number of applications and “impressed and enthused” by their calibre.

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“It’s been a very difficult decision process and I have worked to identify independent bookshops for whom this money may make a difference,” he said. “I’m excited to follow their progress and see the proposed ideas in action.”

Established 36 years ago, the Newham Bookshop has spent years working with schools in the area to encourage children to take up reading, including the Big Read initiative at Rokeby School, which sits just down the road.

According to Vivian getting children to start reading early makes them “lifelong readers and learners”.

She added: “We have been here so long and we know that children who read continue reading and we are able to encourage a love of reading which will take them through life – and has.”

The shop will host celebrated children’s author Jaqueline Wilson – best known for creating the character of Tracy Beaker – from 3pm at Stratford Circus on November 16.

The writer will speak about her 100th book, Opal Plumstead. Tickets cost from £5, call 0844 357 2625 to book.

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