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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2017 > SUBSCRIBER SPOTLIGHT


Share your writing success stories. If you subscribe to Writing Magazine and would like to feature here, email Tina Jackson,

Boots the booklender

‘I knew nothing about Boots Booklovers Libraries until a friend told me she used to work for them in the late 1950s,’ writes subscriber Jackie Winter.

‘I’ve always been interested in social history and wanted to learn more. The research was fascinating and resulted in an article, which was highly commended in a competition. Encouraged, I contacted Boots’ archive and received invaluable help from Judith Wright, senior archivist. I emailed the letters pages of forty regional newspapers inviting former Boots library staff and subscribers to get in touch.

‘The book took three years to write and sometimes I struggled to see the way forward. This was when I turned to Diana Cambridge for help. Diana’s sensitive encouragement and thoughtful suggestions boosted my confidence and gave me fresh ideas.

Lipsticks and Library Books tells BBLs story, from its founding in 1899 by Florence Boot to its demise in 1966. Former staff and subscribers share entertaining memories and the book has re-united colleagues who lost touch over the years.

‘The libraries were designed to imitate a drawing room in a prosperous country house, with mahogany bookshelves and comfortable sofas. They were situated within the chemist’s shops, usually upstairs or at the back of the store. Subscribers were predominantly women – married, middle class and middle aged. Class A and Class B subscribers were segregated, using different counters.

Library assistants were encouraged to think of themselves as a cut above ordinary sales staff. It was rumoured that working in Boots library enhanced a girl’s chances of marrying into the upper crust. Librarians in charge were invariably spinsters, often strict and difficult to work with.

Lipsticks and Library Books: the story of Boots Booklovers Library is available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, also direct from me on 01929 459207 or

Make your own luck

‘I write first and foremost because I love writing but, of course, like most new writers I always dreamed of seeing my work in print,’ writes long-term subscriber Pam Fudge.

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About Writing Magazine

Make this the month you make your dreams real and start becoming a writer in the Get Serious issue, with advice on: • How a change of attitude will help you, and the wider world, take your writing seriously • How to stay motivated past the difficult mid-novel slump • Money matters: Are you charging enough for your freelance writing? PLUS How to make sense of your royalty statements Cover star Jake Arnott tells us about finding the stories and characters that society overlooks and we explore the style and technique of forensic crime superstar Patricia Cornwell Get your work out there with opportunities to get published and competitions with more than £60,000 total prize money in 20 packed pages of Writers' News. All this plus our definitive guide to writing festivals, courses and other events for 2017