Shows audience at Author Event at The Book nook
Author Event held at the Book Nook. Image Credit: The Book Nook

The Book Nook: Stirling’s New Cultural Hub

5 mins read

Local café and bookshop, the Book Nook, is making its mark in Stirling with the introduction of monthly nighttime events.  

These events serve to expand Stirling’s cultural scene, with author events that put attendees in direct contact with writers, and Forth Fridays hosted by Stirling Makar, Laura Fyfe, which feature renowned Scottish spoken word poets and give space to anyone who wishes to perform during the open mic segment.  

Second-year Politics and Sociology student Laila Hisham Anter Faried commented on her experience performing at Forth Fridays saying: “I think it’s really nice that they ensure such a comfortable space to perform in. The organisers make it feel like a judgement-free zone and it’s a good chance to get used to being on ‘stage’ as well as listen to spoken word from a variety of people.”  

In addition, the passion projects that are the Book Club and Quiz Nights provide fun activities and the chance to meet others with similar interests.  

Open Mic event held at the Book Nook. Image Credit: The Book Nook

As a student café, it’s notable that these events are held without any alcohol, which according to owners Jasmine Forsyth and Leanne Brown is intentional.  

“It’s a nicer atmosphere not serving alcohol. We are a café, it’s what we know and it’s what we do.”  

Jasmine Forsyth

She also says: “When we were students, we went out drinking; it’s just what you do as a student. But it’s nice to have a coffee shop culture as an option in the evening. Not every night out needs to be drinking.” 

This creates a warm and cosy atmosphere at their events where hot chocolate, coffee and teas are abundant amongst the warm glow of lamplight and easy conversation. 

Faried notes that: “A big part of going out is drinking and I’ve always wondered if I’m missing out on a part of the experience. So, there being an alcohol-free option as a sober person is really nice for a change as being in university a lot of activities are centred around drinking.”  

Besides the lack of alcohol, one can also find that the Book Nook is a safe space with queer literature stocking the shelves. 

Image of book shelf with inclusive titles on left and image of inclusive tote bags on right with phrases such as "Trans Rights are Human Rights" to be seen
Inclusive books and tote bags are found in the Book Nook. Image Credit: Carlin Braun

Despite owners Forsyth and Brown not being queer themselves, they explain that: “We intentionally stock a lot of queer fiction as we enjoy reading it and it’s important to stock that.”  

Queer barista, Elijah Graham, who’s been working at the Book Nook since 2019, notes: “A lot of people come to the university not having come from a very welcoming space or town and it might be really good for them to see queer titles on the shelves.”  

“I spent so long not having any representation, and now we find ourselves in 2022 with so many titles. It’s nice to have created that space for people here in the Book Nook.” 

Elijah Graham

Overall, the Book Nook’s evening events mark the creation of a space that is welcoming and inclusive towards those who may not find it elsewhere.  

Seeing this local staple flourish despite the challenges brought by the pandemic is a win for safe spaces in Stirling and Forsyth notes how: “For the first hour we opened we had no customers. It was so nice to share the shop with people when we first opened, and it is still so nice when people tell us that they love it.”  

Now customers flood through the doors and as the Book Nook continues to expand, time can only say what other cultural endeavours they’ll bring to Stirling. 

More details on upcoming events at the Book Nook can be found on their social media below:

Instagram: @stirlingthebooknook 

Twitter: @BookNookStir 

Facebook: The Book Nook Stirling

Featured Image Credit: The Book Nook

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South African student journalist in my second year of doing my Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Journalism Studies.

Instagram: @x_.lin_x

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