The ‘Knowing Newham Hero Hunt’ is a theatre show for children and their families about some of Newham’s hidden heroes. Created especially for Newham Heritage Month 2021 the show features stories about 6 amazing people connected to the borough. One of these people is Vivian Archer.
Vivian Archer has been the manager of Newham Bookshop for more than 30 years. Vivian and the bookshop have partnered with libraries, schools, charities, and community organisations to share the excitement of reading for children and adults. She believes that children should read books for pleasure and tries to show how books can transport them to different worlds.
Vivian, whose parents fled to the UK from Nazi Germany, has also helped new immigrant families feel welcome in Newham by providing bilingual dictionaries and books in various languages. She also organises events with local authors to help them share their work and inspire future writers. Her bookshop career has shown how books can bring new opportunities to children and she recalls how some young people who used to frequent the bookshop were inspired by it to follow their own aspirations.
The impact of Newham Bookshop in the community was recognised by the “Books Are My Bag” Readers Award for outstanding contribution to bookselling in 2018, and by the Regional Independent Bookshop of the Year Award in 2019.
Vivian kindly gave us her time for an interview to help us research and develop The ‘Knowing Newham’ Hero Hunt.