New cafés, new creative practitioners and new activities sought
The Creative Café started off as a seed of an idea about ten
years ago. Since then I’ve collected dozens and dozens of cafés. I seem to find
them everywhere I go. I’ve altered my ideas about what counts as a creative
café activity and embraced some really interesting events and meetings.
I’m now keen of course to get even more people involved,
more cafés listed and discover more ideas of how creative practitioners can
interact with each other and their audiences in a café environment.
Do have a look at About the
Project to find out what the project is about. Also take a look at Ideas for Café
Owners to find out how the cafés work. We also have some good ideas about
how writers and other creative practitioners might interact with a creative
café. Read about it here.Do browse the cafés and get a sense of how a
café become labelled “creative”.Find a Café
shows you a list of activities by café.You can also search for a café by post code, town and country.
Don’t forget also CaféLit, our
publication that supports the project.
Can you help me to add more information to the site? If so,
please use the contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.
Many writers have a love / hate relationship with Waterstone’s.
This giant chain store may have squeezed out some of our beloved indie
bookshops. It’s not easy getting them to sell your books. At times it seems
like an exclusive club to which it is difficult to get membership. Yet, it is a
bookshop full of fabulous books. The people who work there are, it seems, lovers
of books and its café is also peopled with those who love the written word.
I’ve had two encounters recently with the café in this branch
of Waterstone’s. I met a writer whom I’m mentoring. She was held up by problems
with trains and this allowed me plenty of time to see what was going on there.
I drank a huge cup of coffee and got on with some writing. I wasn’t the only one
working this way: there were plenty of people bent over tablets and lap-tops.
It was also clear that many people were holding meetings and I know of other
colleagues who have used this space for that purpose. And some people just sit
A few days later we held our SCBWI network group there and I
belong to the Young Adult critique group. We couldn’t all fit in the events
room. We took over two tables in the café.
The staff didn’t mind: we were buying lunch and lots of drinks. One or two other
visitors looked at us curiously. They were interested, though, rather than
irritated. This also seemed the right sort of activity for the café.
The café’s been there quite a while now and is beginning to
fade a little. No matter. It is still a comfortable space for the creative practitioner.
It offers a decent if not spectacular range of food and drink at reasonable
I visited this remarkable bookshop / café in one of the dark
days after Christmas, just about in the New Year.Normally on such a day I would not venture
out unless I had to. It was below four degrees Celsius. However, I was on my way
to a meeting that was cancelled at the last minute and I was kind of in the
It is a remarkable space. The floor seems only half finished
but that somehow adds to its charm.There
is a big water feature ad its gentle tinkling keeps the atmosphere calm. The
staff were friendly and actually made me feel rather like royalty.I ordered my Americano and a waiter brought
it to my seat later.I chose to sit in a
high-backed chair near one of the windows. There was plenty of choice in
seating, including some fascinating booths furnished with small tables and
typewriters. The cake looked fabulous but as I knew that there was Christmas
cake waiting at home I refrained this time. Another time I won’t hold back.
Even on a quiet day like today there were clearly half a
dozen or so people networking / holding meetings. Two groups had found very private
spaces. Another young man worked away on his Apple Mac. There is easy access here
with a good signal to the Manchester free Wi-Fi. I hooked up my phone with no
problems. I sat and wrote in my note book.
This place wins as a bookstore, too. It sells an unusual mix
of books and they are beautifully presented.It’s the type of store I’d go to in order to buy a special present.