A new chapter for book lovers in South Wales begins this weekend with the opening of a new independent bookshop in Pontypridd town centre.

STORYVILLE BOOKS on Mill Street has now opened its doors, and quite an opening it was with a day of events and giveaways to celebrate the latest addition to Pontypridd’s growing number of independent retailers. And let’s be honest, something new and exciting opening in these troubled times is a great thing.

Pontypridd overlooking the river

Storyville Books, the only independent book shop in Rhondda Cynon Taf county borough, is selling a wide range of new titles, from the latest in fiction and non-fiction to Welsh language titles along with a children’s corner for little bookworms that will cater to younger readers.

The shop is co-owned and managed by Jeff Baxter and former BBC journalist Cerith Mathias, the team behind the annual Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival.

Although the event took place in May, you can still read our feature HERE.

Cerith Mathias, co-owner of the shop told us………

‘We’re excited to open the doors and welcome everyone to the shop. Our hope is that Storyville Books will become a central part of the vibrant community here in Pontypridd, becoming a place for people to share their passion for books and for reading. We’ll provide a hub for booklovers of all ages and tastes to come and discuss their favourite titles and authors, hopefully leading to the discovery of many more new favourites along the way.’

They had a packed programme of events for Storyville Books’ grand opening, which also coincides with the beginning of Independent Bookshop Week.

The first ten customers were treated to a Storyville Books goody bag.

Pontypridd Town Mayor, Carl Thomas officially open the shop in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For younger customers, Patch the Ponty Panda, the popular mascot of Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival paid a visit to the shop.

Now, we ought to say, not only is Ponty a great hit with the kids, he’s something of a hit on the racetrack too, as you can see from the video below from the Chepstow Mascot Race. Our chocolate money was always going to be on Ponty……

PONTY THE PANDA GOES RACING

Author and broadcaster Gary Raymond turned up to sign copies of his latest book, Angels of Cairo.

Gary Raymond

Gary says he’s not your typical writer, in the sense he was born and brought up on a council estate in Newport, but was exposed to classic literature, music and cinema by my grandfather from a very young age. So, yes, he read Roald Dahl and watched Disney movies, but from around 6 years old he was introduced to Arthur Conan Doyle, to Edgar Allan Poe, and to classic American cinema – Westerns, war movies, to John Wayne and Jimmy Cagney, to Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day.

To finish the day’s events, children’s author and BBC Wales news presenter Lucy Owen and illustrator Rebecca Harry signed copies of their new book Flower Girl.

FLOWER GIRL is a story about a girl called Cherry who is made by magic from the flowers of an enchanted blossom tree. With hair as pink as petals and a pet butterfly called Bud, she is a little bit different to everyone else!

At school, she tries hard to fit in, but that’s when things start to go wrong. She has to learn to be kind, honest and strong, or she will vanish back into the blossom petals again. When she is put to the ultimate test, can Cherry find the courage to be herself, be a true friend and save losing everything she loves, forever?

Co-owner of Storyville Books, Jeff Baxter told us……

‘We’re passionate about Pontypridd and our community and are looking forward to being part of the exciting developments taking place across the town. With the wonderful new library, the revamping of the Muni Arts Centre and the new YMCA building opening, as well as the existing cultural institutions and groups here, we feel very lucky to be launching Storyville Books at such a crucial time and look forward to being a central part of Pontypridd’s bright future.’

If you missed the special events of the grand opening, Storyville Books will be organising author talks and book signings throughout the year, bringing international and UK best selling authors to Pontypridd along with showcasing the wealth of local talent on the doorstep.

Storyville Books is also a member of Bookshop.Org. To make a purchase online, you can visit Storyville right HERE

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