David Mitchell – Semi-retired Proprietor of the bookshop, on sabbatical to work on a number of writing projects; and Kathy Mitchell – cafe owner.
Scarthin Bookshop Staff
Currently reading: ‘Brute’ by Emily Skaja*
David first visited the shop in the early noughties as a wide-eyed, excited customer and by the end of the decade I was lucky enough to be working here, initially on the weekend bank of staff in 2007 and then, since 2009, as Manager.
Why reading matters to David: I read mostly fiction….a means of discovering new and interesting ways of life and thought and of living vicariously – not because my own life is lacking but to fill it with additional adventures and experiences. And I LOVE discovering an author whose work bowls me over and then having to work my way through a back catalogue, one after the other, as with Murakami (a few years back) and Banana Yoshimoto (next).
Favourite place in the bookshop: Either the Art Room or the Front Desk. Despite being an introvert I do love interacting with customers and discussing all things BOOKS.
When not found at Scarthin: David can be found playing with his two year old son, Gabriel. He also has a love for art and, in particular, portrait photography.
His own website of images – under the name Blemished Eye – can be found HERE.
*’Brute’ is a dark and haunting collection of poems around the theme of oppression, domestic violence and, ultimately, liberation. I haven’t read a lot of poetry but I recently discovered the prose poetry (contradiction?) of Franz Wright, which is also quite disturbing but, like the works of Emily Skaja, beautifully written.
David works Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Eve has a background working in educational libraries and retail, and an education centred around art and photography. Her areas of interest include contemporary fiction, natural history and art. ‘The Passion of New Eve’ for the bookshop is obvious to see when you notice the new displays that have appeared all around the shop and she knows the inventory and exact location of (almost) every single new book we stock!
Eve works Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Les Hurst – Finance Manager
The twice winner of MENSA Brain of Britain, works part-time at the shop and does the bookshop and cafe accounts as well as listing some of our online antiquarian and specialist titles. Areas of specialism (which are many) include crime writing and science fiction. Les’ own website can be viewed HERE.
Les works on Thursdays and Fridays.
Currently reading: ‘Beastings’ by Benjamin Myers
When she’s not touring as one third of the highly acclaimed instrumental band, Haiku Salut, Sophie is to be found working at the bookshop on Thursdays and Fridays. She joined the team in June 2016, having been a serial bookshop frequenter prior to that.
Full of ideas and enthusiasm, coupled with a real eye for detail and getting things done. Sophie is also another dedicated Murakami follower (we seem to attract them!).
Why reading matters to Sophie: All of the reasons! Being able to visit places you can’t go, illuminating thoughts/feelings/opinions of others, escapism, learning new skills, recipes
Favourite place in the shop: The loft – (lesser spotted)
When not found at Scarthin: Touring with Haiku Salut, writing music for TV and film, and walking her best friend, Pi.
Sophie works on Thursdays and Fridays.
Currently reading: ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari
Charlotte discovered Scarthin on a school trip when she was doing her A-levels. It was suggested to her as ‘the best bookshop in Derbyshire’, and she soon fell in love with it: though she swears it’s not just for the tea and cake! When a job became available a few years later she jumped at the chance, and has now been a key member of the team for 3 years.
She now coordinates Scarthin’s wonderful signings, readings and workshops, as well as running our social media and liaising with and stocking our local authors.
Why reading matters to Charlotte: For poetry, it’s to connect and heal. For fiction, it’s all about escaping. Non-fiction, it’s to know more and more and more.
Favourite place in the shop: The Second hand poetry corner and the Scarthin garden in the sunshine.
When not found at Scarthin: Charlotte is an avid reader, writer, spoken word poet and workshop facilitator. You’re likely to find her at open mics or reading Murakami and jotting down lines of poetry in the small hours of the morning.
You can follow her antics by looking up lottie_poet on social media.
Charlotte works on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.
Bev is the former Cafe Manager but now works in the bookshop. Full of ideas, creativity and a calm, quiet determination to get things done, Bev is such an asset that we can hardly believe our luck. She also works alongside David on second-hand book buying and pricing.
Bev works on Tuesdays, Thursdays and alternate Sundays.
Currently Reading: All of Jilly Cooper’s back catalogue.
With a background in Film History, Ashton’s main asset to the shop relies on the variety and scope of his cultural knowledge; best described as ‘a little about a lot’.
Ashton refuses to accept that Murakami is the one true saviour and has started a rival faction known as Jilly Copper-ism. So far… not as successful as you’d hope.
Why reading matters to Ashton:
Favourite place in the shop:
When not found at Scarthin: Ashton is outside of Scarthin, waiting to be let back in to pay his hefty book bill.
Ashton works on alternate Sundays (and possibly Mondays, masquerading as ‘Gareth’).
Currently reading: Maddaddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood
Kathy first encountered proprietor Dave, 30 years ago, and has been involved in the bookshop ever since.
Having worked in the shop, in-between raising her daughters and working as a teacher, Kathy has a comprehensive knowledge of the shop.
Kathy is owner of Scarthin Cafe, and now lists our specialist and antiquarian books online, and processes and sends out orders.
Why reading matters to Kathy: A way of self-improvement. It extends your horizons, and educates. It’s not just for escapism. When I’m reading, I want to read something meaningful, that’s direct to my life or those around me.
Favourite place in the shop: The outside cafe garden. It’s a beautiful little nook that you can tell people really enjoy spending time in. It’s our humble little retreat.
When not found at Scarthin: Kathy is most often found next door! Often tending to their wonderful garden, or walking in the village.
Kathy works on Tuesdays and Wednesday afternoons.
Currently reading: about a book a week. He reads over breakfast, in lunchtimes, and whenever his six kids are busy with other stuff!
Gareth is an ex art and wilderness teacher, who has lived in Hull, Bristol, Rugby, Birmingham, Northampton, Walsall and now, lovely Cromford. He’s been here over a year now – having dropped in the day after he lost a job in Nottingham, and accidentally chanced upon his dream job!
Gareth is our resident carpenter – a pro spoon-whittler and shelf-carer. He also writes songs and plays a ukulele made from a tin of sweets. He’s as wholesome as he sounds.
Why reading matters to Gareth: Reading really changed my life, I left school with no G.C.S.E’s and books have given me access to everything I need. They are also a great place to escape into. My kids are starting to pick up on my passion too.
Favourite place in the shop: Anywhere I might sniff out the next life-altering volume. Visually the front desk, talking excitedly about my current or next read.
When not found at Scarthin: Gareth is most likely to be found in the garden with his kids and animals, or out walking.
Gareth works Mondays and Tuesdays (and possibly alternate Sundays, masquerading as ‘Ashton’).
Simon Marshall – Bookseller & Young Fiction Review Panel Lead
Currently reading: ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong
Both one of the longest-serving members of the bookshop team and also somehow clocking in the least hours, Simon started at Scarthin as work experience in 2011 and has bounced back and forth ever since.
A playwright, poet and learning coordinator, Simon is keen to recommend vivid fiction and poetry – Sarah Winman, Marilynne Robinson, Sylvia Plath. Simon is rooting for the shop’s humble theatre collection and is always on hand to reach things from the top shelf.
Why reading matters to Simon: I like that you stop time with a book. It can help you study an emotion, or a situation in a controlled, private way. And you can come back to it. Pause it, rewind. Play. Pass it on.
Favourite place in the shop: I think the table next to the cakes in the cafe is a special spot. You feel hugged by the shop, and you can take in the people coming and going and the slidy door to-ing and fro-ing.
When not found at Scarthin: Simon is currently helping coordinate a charity project across Derby, taking him to youth centres, primary schools and in and out of Déda, a dance and contemporary circus venue. Otherwise, he’s to be found at theatres, open mic nights, and on Twitter @veryrareSimon
Simon ‘works’ Wednesdays.
Scarthin’s Cafe Staff
‘Coming into Scarthin’s Cafe is like putting on an old comfortable pair of slippers’ – customer, 2019
Currently reading: As one of the fastest and most eclectic readers in the team – it’s literally a different book a day. ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ is a firm favourite though.
Ruben is the head cook/supervisor. He is a dedicated member of the team (and makes lovely soups and specials!)
Ruben claims to have worked at Scarthin Books since the periphery of his memory. His first encounter with the shop was a misinterpretation of a murder mysteries poster in the bathroom as a child – he was so scarred that for years his parents queried why he’d never come back. Now they ask why he never leaves.
Why reading matters to Ruben: I’m not entirely convinced that it does, I just know I have to.
Favourite place in the shop: The secondhand Fiction shelves – they’re anarchy.
When not found at Scarthin: In the pub…
Currently reading: ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngazi Adiche – a firm favourite from Scarthin’s Book Club – come join us! every last Monday of the Month.
Why reading matters to Ella: ‘Empathy.’
Favourite place in the shop: ‘Depends on the weather! Small table in the corner of the cafe on a cold day (as with Simon!), the conservatory on a rainy day, the beautiful garden on a sunny day!
Or the arm chair in the art room – perfect for some quiet reading time or occasionally a nap! Or downstairs in fiction – that’s where I make most of my purchases!’
When not found at Scarthin: Ella is most likely to be found at one of her other jobs – she’s a talented lady and lucky to be working in multiple jobs she loves (she’s assured us Scarthin is one of them!) These include facilitating creative welllbeing workshops for Step Ball Change, and doing social action / creative facilitation / emotional education work for Transform Training.
Jo Heron – Midweek Cook
Currently reading: ‘The Descent of Man’ by Grayson Perry
Jo has worked in the cafe for nearly two years, but has been a fan of the shop for forever. She first started coming here as a child, and has been glad to be a part of the Scarthin family. Her neighbour and fellow cook Jilly first let her know there were vacancies, and the two soon found themselves treating the place as their home away from home.
Why reading matters to Jo: For relaxation. It’s important to have a distraction, and reading has therapeutic benefits. It’s also the best tool for expanding your knowledge. How books can reimagine things too: one of my favourite books is ‘The Snow Child’ by Eowyn Ivey, because it’s based on an old fable.
Favourite place in the shop: The Art Room. It’s such a wonderful vibe in there, and it helps that I love art.
When not found at Scarthin: Jo is an artist based in Belper, so is often to be found making art there, as well as travelling around in her green and blue campervan and spending time with her grandsons. She has a studio at Haarlem Mill just around the corner.
Jill – Midweek Cook
Currently reading: ‘Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions’ by Russell Brand, as well as dipping in and out of cook books!
Jill first encountered the bookshop and cafe through her vegan daughter. She was sat having lunch and overheard that they were in need of more kitchen staff, and her daughter insisted she apply.
She’s now been here three years – Scarthin loves her as much as she loves it!
Why reading matters to you: It’s helpful for sleep, relaxation and mind expansion.
Favourite place in the shop: The Art Room and the cafe.
When not found at Scarthin: Jill likes to knit, paint and socialise.
Jilly – Midweek Cook
Maddie – Weekend Team
Melissa – Weekend Team
Olivia Atwood- Weekend Team
Currently reading: ‘Risography: Loving Imperfections’ by Carolina Amell
Olivia is an illustration student, who first encountered Scarthin on her birthday, and was ‘blown away by all of the books.’ She has worked in Scarthin for a few years now, and will graduate with her Masters in 2020.
Why reading matters to Olivia: It’s a little escape, a way to forget everything and go to places you would never be able to go in reality.
Favourite place in the bookshop: The Art Room, always. I can’t resist browsing all the beautiful art books.
When not found at Scarthin: Olivia will be found screen-printing to her heart’s content, and illustrating her imagination’s unusual curiosities. These prints are also sold at Scarthin!
Eleanor – Weekend Team
Cafe Support Team
The cafe also has a fantastic team of hard working support staff, many of whom have been with us for several years. Estelle, Lilly and Miles are our often unsung heroes.