Norwich book shop puts final flourish to display celebrating city's talent

Henry Layte, owner of The Book Hive on London Street in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

Henry Layte, owner of The Book Hive on London Street in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

A Norwich book shop is celebrating the city's vibrancy and talent as part of its reopening celebrations.

Henry Layte, owner of the Book Hive, in London Street, has teamed up with local illustrators and designers to decorate the shop's windows ahead of April 12, the first day non-essential shops can reopen. 

Mr Layte decided to use the space to celebrate the city and talented local artists, after the events of the last 12 months.

He said: "It's really exciting it feels like we are preparing for a party.

"We could have just filled the window with new hardback books.

"No-one knows the future but we have come through it because Norwich is a very special place and there are talented people."

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Helping to design two of the windows was author and illustrator Lucy Morris in honour of her first children's book The Song for Everyone, who was excited to be part of the project.

Ms Morris released the book last February in the UK and US but due to the pandemic was unable to experience an official launch and the special moment of seeing her book in stores.

Writer and illustrator Lucy Morris putting together her window display, for her book The Song For Ev

Writer and illustrator Lucy Morris putting together her window display, for her book The Song For Everyone, at The Book Hive in Norwich for their re-launch. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

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Ms Morris, who grew up in the city with her family running the popular Elm Hill craft shop, said: "The thing I was so excited for was walking into a book shop and finding it and that couldn't happen."

Writer and illustrator Lucy Morris with her book, The Song For Everyone, which is on display at The

Writer and illustrator Lucy Morris with her book, The Song For Everyone, which is on display at The Book Hive in Norwich as part of their re-launch. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Also in pride of place on the wall is the shop's own blue plaque designed by artist and printmaker Paul Bommer.

The tiles when placed together create a medieval series of pictures with the wording A Fine Cittie' and 'Floreat Norvicum', meaning Norwich will flourish. Mr Layte said it would be a permanent addition to the building. 

The plaque outside The Book Shop in Norwich was was designed by artist Paul Bommer and means 'Norwic

The plaque outside The Book Shop in Norwich was was designed by artist Paul Bommer and means 'Norwich will flourish'. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

The final window display is connected to the upcoming release of Haydn Middleton's new novel The Actual Whole of Music, which has been printed by the Book Hive's own publishing house Propolis Books.

Designer and artist Niki Medlik with the book she designed to cover for which is part of relaunch of

Designer and artist Niki Medlik with the book she designed to cover for which is part of relaunch of The Book Hive in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

The book is not officially published until May 1 but has been designed by Norwich books designer Niki Medlik.

She said: "It's really exciting.

"As I was putting the vinyl up in the window people were stopping and looking and when you are in the window you hear people asking 'what's that?'. People are feeling a lot more optimistic about everything."

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