Brighton’s first Black bookshop owner ‘completely blown away’ by support from the public

Black woman standing in front of her bookshop
Black woman standing in front of her bookshop
Afrori Books is opening in Kensington Street this month

A fundraising campaign to open the first Black-owned bookshop in Brighton has smashed its £10,000 target.

In just four weeks the initial target was reached, with the final amount totalling £12,460.

Afrori Books, which is set to open in Kensington Street later this month, will showcase the work of Black authors from across the world.

Owner Carolynn Bain has plans for creative writing evenings, a book club, children’s story times, training to help teachers integrate diverse books into classrooms and much more.

Afrori Books was first launched as an online bookshop in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in July last year.

As the online store soared in popularity, Carolynn eventually made the decision to open the first bookshop in Sussex.

She said: “I am completely blown away by the love the public has shown to our dream of making Brighton an anti-racist city.

“The night we hit the target I sobbed; I was so overwhelmed.”

However, the Bevendean resident received racist abuse over her decision to only sell books written by Black authors.

Both the Afrori Books email and online social media accounts were hit by a wave of abuse.

“I am a Black woman so racist abuse is not new to me, it’s not like ‘wow people are like that’,” she told SussexLive.

“We’ve had a few messages where people have said ‘Oh what if we had a book shop that only had white authors in it?’

“And my answer is: The Works, WHSmith, etc. There are a lot out there.

“I go into the shops all the time, they only have white authors in them.

“We have a mission statement, which is: Support Black authors, create diverse bookshelves, and be a voice for justice.

“Everything has to sit in that and if it doesn’t then we’re not doing it.”