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Ex-lawyer plans to make bookshop 'literary hub of the community'
An ex-lawyer is aiming to make a bookshop the “literary hub of the community.”
Saba Rais, new owner of the Village Bookshop in High Road, Woodford Green, worked as a tax lawyer in the City for twelve years before taking over the shop, which celebrates its 30th year next year.
Miss Rais, who is currently working on her first novel, was taking a break from her job in order to write when she came across the bookshop and was offered a managerial position for several days a week.
She said: “When the owner turned round a few months later and asked me if I wanted to buy the shop, I agreed straight away.
“I had worked as a lawyer for so long which I loved for the first few years but then it became a bit of a routine.
“It no longer had any meaning for me and now that I have bought the shop I couldn’t be happier.”
Miss Rais’ love of books started when she was five years old when she would write stories and she now aims to help encourage and improve literacy in young children by collaborating with local schools.
She said: “One of my main aims is to help improve literacy in young children and I want to have a literary festival in the summer and set up a literacy foundation for children.
“I am going to hold story time twice a week, hold evening events, book groups and host local authors.
“Even though I am now earning much less than I was as a lawyer now, I wish I had done it sooner.”
Miss Rais took over from previous owner Tan Dhillon officially on December 13, after he decided to leave due to family reasons and due to the fact he lives 30 miles away.
Mr Dhillon said: “This year has been the most exciting for me and I have developed the bookshop as best I can and enjoyed the challenge.
“I want to thank the many customers and schools that have kept us busy throughout the year, but I leave the village bookshop in good hands.
“Saba has plans to make the bookshop more of a community hub as she is local.”
Miss Rais is currently in the process of finding a publisher for her first novel, Pure, a story set in Bethnal Green about a young girl facing an arranged marriage.
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