‘We are writing history’ – celebrating the woman behind Brighton’s only Black Bookshop

PUBLISHED : May 28, 2024

WORDS : Archive Team

Once tucked away down a side street in the North Laines, Brighton’s first-ever shop dedicated to selling books by Black authors now sits proudly in a prominent spot on one of the city’s busiest roads – and it is thriving.

Carolynn Bain started Afrori books just 3 years ago in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter protests. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign that saw Carolynn raise over £10,000, Afrori books officially opened its doors.

In a predominantly white city – and industry – Carolynn wanted to diversify bookshelves, and ensure that people of colour could see themselves represented in books. But she’s achieved so much more than that.

Rifa Thorpe – Tracey is the co-founder of the Women of Colour Brighton group. She adds:

“She’s given us a place to belong – it’s more than just a bookshop. But it’s not just for Black people, it’s for everyone ”

A former volunteer Ophelie Lawson explains:

“She’s been such a sunshine for our community, she’s shining on us, her healing, joyful light. Especially when I got pregnant with Afra. I was looking for a community that would make me feel safe but that I could evolve with, grow with. She gave me that little cocoon. ”

As well as arranging children’s weekend workshops, Carolynn holds evening events; book clubs where readers are given the chance to explore challenging themes, characters and concepts.

But Carolynn’s work has gone beyond the walls and shelves of the bookshop. She’s been the driving force in taking anti-racism training into the city’s schools.

Carolynn has since been recognised for the incredible work she’s doing by winning Book Seller of Year.

Carolynn says:

” I want to be a change-maker. Not for the lovely shiny awards – which I love – but for the people. ”

Via ITV Meridian
Originally Published 10/10/2023