Westwood Books is run by Paul and Heather Thomas plus a small team of staff. Here's a little bit more about them .
Heather - Co-Owner
I’m Heather, I grew up in Birmingham and we moved to Sedbergh as a family in 2014. I’ve had a love of reading since I was a child and studied art, philosophy and English language and literature up to A level. I don’t have a particular favourite author or genre and tend to go through phases of devouring a certain topic or author then changing to another. Some books that I have particularly enjoyed are Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens, and Swimming with Seals by Victoria Whitworth. I read a lot more nonfiction these days and enjoy reading about philosophy, psychology, mental health and cultural trends like Hygge and Lagom. Helen Russell’s book The Atlas of Happiness is really good for a quick insight into some of these. I’m trying to read more poetry and I love Nikita Gill’s writing. I’m also partial to a bit of Shakespeare but definitely no expert!
You will see me around the shop but I will also be the one behind our social media and other behind the scenes stuff.
Paul - Co-Owner
Paul was born in Essex, but spent most of his childhood in Solihull. Paul has had a career of twenty plus years in IT before deciding that a book sellers life was calling. He travelled a lot in his past roles but is happy to be more settled at the shop.
His favourite author is Terry Pratchett and we have almost all of his books on our shelves at home. He also enjoys reading historical fiction such as the Candace Robb Owen Archer mysteries and science fiction like Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series.
Paul has a great memory for stock and is learning fast what we have in here so just ask if you are looking for anything in particular.
Penny - Staff Member
Regular customers will recognise me as I have been at Westwood Books for over 10 years.
I was brought up in Dollar, Scotland which is remarkably similar to Sedbergh. I lived in the Hebrides for a number of years where my last job was working for the National Trust on the Isle of Canna. I was assistant to the eminent scholar Dr J L Campbell when he was writing his history of the island. I spent several years crofting on the Isle of Lismore before coming to Garsdale near Sedbergh.
I’ve always enjoyed books - favourite authors are Ian McEwan, Margaret Forster, and Lionel Shriver. I also like books on travel, Scotland, Polar and horses. I look forward to welcoming you to Westwood Books.
Edward - Staff Member
Edward will be working with us during school holidays and weekends.
He is in the unenviable position of being our son, but has very kindly agreed to be permanent staff and have his smiley face on our pages here.
He has been an avid reader since he was small and enjoys science fiction and fantasy novels, as well as history and science based non fiction. Some of his favourite books include The Lost Fleet series, the Stark`s War series, both by Jack Campbell, and the Throne Of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.
Jess - Staff Member
I was born in Reading but grew up just down the road in Kendal. After visiting my grandparents who had moved to Cautley in the 1980’s, my parents fell in love with the area and so we also moved up north. I visited Sedbergh many a time as a child and find it rather serendipitous that I came to live here with my little family in 2013 through my husband’s job.
I studied Illustration at Loughborough University but fell into a life of retail work and then Dental Nursing. At the beginning of the year I decided I needed a part time job that complemented my illustration work and I am very happy to have become the newest member of staff at Westwood Books. Unsurprisingly picture books and illustrated books are my favourite type of books. I also enjoy YA fiction, especially if there is a touch of magic, wonder and nature thrown in. I love pawing over a beautifully illustrated book and have started a little collection of my favourites which I’m continually adding to. My favourite book as a child was Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and I still have my original copy which is one of my most treasured possessions. I’m just a big kid really!
Ellie - Staff Member
I’m Ellie and I was born and raised in the Lakes near Kendal. After three amazing years living in York and studying English Literature at University, I’m happy to be back among the fells, fields and lakes of home. Working in a bookshop is of course every book-lovers dream, and I’m really excited to live out that fantasy and hopefully learn a thing or two along the way. I’ve always enjoyed reading a wide range of literature, and find books as objects and the publishing industry as a whole really fascinating too. I’ll pick up anything from canonical classics to YA fantasy, fluffy romances to gritty thrillers, sci-fi adventures to contemporary literary fiction. Some all-time favourites include Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Although my ‘to be read’ list is long enough already, I’m forever looking for more recommendations and will always enthusiastically to chat to anyone about books, authors and storytelling.