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About Us

More than a just bookshop...


Gay's The Word is the UK's oldest LGBT bookshop and a touchstone for the broader LGBT community. The bookshop was set up in January 1979 by a group of gay socialists as a community space where all profits were funnelled back into the business. This ethos continues today with shelves bursting with books and the space used for book and community events, all stewarded by three members of staff: Jim, Uli, and Erica. Across the website, you'll find details about our history; features in print, radio, and film; photographs and recordings from past events; and a curated selection of books in our online shop.

Our Booksellers


Jim MacSweeney

Jim is the manager of the bookshop, working here since 1989. 

He has been a voracious reader since he was a child, and now enjoys reading history, fiction, memoir, and biography.


Uli Lenart FRSA

Uli is the deputy manager. He loves literary fiction, literary non-fiction, and vintage homosexual ephemera. He is also a book reviewer, literary event coordinator, and author interviewer.


Erica Gillingham

Erica is a bookseller, writer, and poet with a PhD in lesbian love stories in young adult literature. She's always keen to read the latest in poetry, short stories, novellas, and graphic novels.  


Pao Salcedo

Pao is a bookseller with a past career in PR and community health. She keeps up-to-date with the latest in literary fiction, political, and young adult literature. Originally from Latin America, they speak fluent Spanish.


"It's not just a bookshop, but the hub and affirmation of a whole community."

—  Sarah Waters, author



Website creation: Erica Gillingham

Staff/Bookshop photos: Vera Jacquet

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