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Ruth Shaw – The Bookseller at the End of the World


  • Sun 29 May 2022, 2:00pm


All Ages

In The Bookseller at the End of the World, New Zealander Ruth Shaw weaves together stories of the characters who visit her bookshops, musings about her favourite books, and bittersweet stories from her full and varied life.

In this special event hosted by Queenstown Writers Festival, Ruth will talk about her memoir, in an interview with Sara Litchfield.

Ruth has led a life full of high adventure, trauma, incredible sadness, times of desperation and chaos, as well as amazing highs. Throughout her lifetime, she has always had a love of books. Ruth tried to retire, but instead she runs three bookshops.

This is much more than just a bookseller memoir. Ruth has led one of those extraordinary lives. She has sailed extensively through the Pacific and the South China Sea, being held up by pirates, worked in Sydney's Kings Cross with drug addicts and prostitutes, campaigned on numerous environmental issues, and owned and operated the yacht 'Breaksea Girl' with her husband, Lance.

Underlining all Ruth’s wanderings and adventures are some very deep losses and long-held pain. Balancing that out is her beautiful love story with Lance, and her delightful sense of humour.

Shaun Bythell, bookseller and author of the Diary of a Bookseller describes the book as “an extraordinary story… illegal gambling, pirates and numerous personal tragedies, all punctuated by warm stories from her bookshops and an ultimately resolved love story. It makes my life look pretty dull”.

Ruth will be interviewed by Sara Litchfield – a former London accountant who is now a writer and book editor based in Te Anau.

At Ruth’s request, her speaking fee will be donated to Queenstown’s Happiness House.

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