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In the Hot Seat with Joe Torr of Village Bookstore, Leeds

To celebrate World Book Day, an annual event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to promote reading, publishing and copyright, we met with Joe Torr.

Joe is the Company Director of Village Bookstore; a new art book store, gallery and publishing house based in Leeds. They offer a curated selection of contemporary artist books, creative magazines and self-published zines from independent publishers, artists and collectives around the world. 

Joe and his friend Ben, co-founder of Village, set up shop in 2012 after having already done zine and book fairs to gauge the crowd. Their mission is to celebrate the medium of print as well as promoting the work of emerging artists. They wanted to offer a place where the people of the North could have access to amazing print publications without having to shop online or travel to the likes of London.





What books would we find if we looked through your bookshelf?

It would be more like photo publications and zines that related to photography. But fiction wise I'm a big fan of Irvine Welsh and dystopian novels.

What was the first book you remember reading?

The first book I remember reading was probably Peter Rabbit.

Did anybody shape your taste in books?

I don't think anyone really shaped my taste in books... I didn't grow up reading books, it was just through art college that I started looking at more artist publications and it opened my mind to what a book could be, rather than what you're taught it is.

What is your favourite book at the moment?

One of my personal favourites that we stock in the shop at the moment is the Preston is my Paris archive book. Preston is my Paris started in 2009 and they ran for a decade, making small publications about the city of Preston and daily life there. And it kind of sums up why we started as a shop. So there was these amazing publishers making books about the North of England but didn't have anywhere to sell them.

What is the most interesting book launch, artist talk or exhibition you have had in the shop?

The most interesting talk we have done is, we worked with Hyde Park picture house up in Hyde Park. We did a talk with Martin Parr and Peter Mitchell. Peter Mitchell is a local photographer who has been shooting for decades but has just been getting some interest. We had an 'in conversation' between the two of them and it sold out within 48 hours for 300 tickets.

I know you're not supposed to judge a book by the cover, but which book or magazine has the best cover in here?

I know we're not supposed to judge books by covers, but essentially that's what we do. The whole book, the design of it, is part of what we do. So, yeah we do judge books by covers.

As it's your first time wearing Yogi Footwear, what are your thoughts?

My thoughts on Yogi's are that they're really comfortable shoes. The Willard's I thought were fantastic and very comfortable. I'd definitely save them for more special occasions rather than daily wear, wearing them with a suit or smart-wear rather than casual.




Quick Fire:

1. Fiction or non-fiction?

A: Fiction

2. E-book or physical book?

A: Obviously physical

3. Paperback or hardback?

A: Hardback, hm dependent

4. Online or in-store book shopping?

A: In store

5. A book you think everyone should read?

A: 1984

6. Recommend an underrated book?

A: A Simon Armitage poetry book, The Motorway Service Station as a Destination in its Own Right

7. Weirdest thing you've used as a bookmark?

A: Another publicatiom

8. Borrow or buy?

A: Buy

9. Long or short books?

A: Short

10. The first three books you can think of?

A: Momento Mori, House Hunting and Cops

11. Series or standalones?

A: Standalones

12. A film you thought was better than the book?

A: Harry Potter



The Interview Video



Even though Joe loved his Willards, if they aren't to your style you can shop our full collection here.


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