THE South Side now has its own great literary trilogy with the opening of a third independent bookshop.

Outwith Books in Govanhill now joins Category IS and Youngs Interesting Books to cement the area’s reputation as Glasgow’s most thriving creative quarter.

And store owner Natalie Whittle said local readers have started forming a community at the Albert Road business already.

She said: “Right in the middle of lockdown things felt insecure so I decided I had to take advantage of the government loans that were available and do something a bit different.

“I was hoping there would be enough book buyers in Govanhill to support it and so far the response has been really wonderful.”

Natalie had previously run a co-writing room on the site for people who needed peace and quiet to work.

She added: “I lived in London for a long time and used to write in my spare hours in cafes but found it really difficult.

“I thought about how Hemingway skittered around Paris on the Left Bank looking for the perfect place to write and he had clear ideas about what that should be: clean, comfortable, warm and with good coffee.

“I thought I would try and bring this idea to life and that’s really where Outwith started.

“It was meant to be a calm writing cave and it was really lovely from day one.

“It was something I knew was going to be difficult to sustain as a business in the longer term.”

Natalie was forced to close Outwith during the coronavirus pandemic but the six month closure gave her time to think of what to do next.

She said: “The writing world in Govanhill is so entrenched - every other close in Govanhill has a writer in it so I knew there was an audience there.

“I decided to go for it.”

With more people working from home and shopping locally due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the time was right to open a local business.

And Natalie wanted to create her perfect bookshop.

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She added: “I have thought a lot about this over the past few months and my perfect bookshop space is one that makes me feel not overwhelmed by giant piles of books or whole walls of books like a tsunami of ideas coming towards me.

“I love the feeling of peace you get in a bookshop and feeling inspired by other writers.

“I’ve made Outwith quite contemporary without being overwhelming, somewhere that feels friendly and modern in its design.”

Natalie is trying to build a niche for the shop by focusing on new fiction and translations, most recently new Japanese female writers.

Her best seller, by “far and away”, has been Shuggie Bain by the Scottish novelist Douglas Stewart, which is set in 1980s Glasgow.

She is also encouraging a sense of community in the store by asking for recommendations, which can be written on a pin board.

Natalie will also order books in for customers so anything she doesn’t have in stock can be delivered in a couple of day.

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She said: “The experience so far has been really exciting.

“I was worried about going for this but we have benefited from people shopping more locally during the pandemic and are starting to see repeat customers, which is really lovely.

“Hopefully we can bring people from the West End to try out our nice little South Side bookshop triangle.”