PUBLISHING APRIL 2019

THE CORNER SHOP
Shopkeepers, the Sharmas and the making of modern Britain

‘Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community’ Sir David Jason

‘A compelling, full selection box of a story’ Sanjeev Kohli

Britain is a nation of shopkeepers, and the story of corner shops is the story of who we are.

From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from Pakistan, Kenya and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, their influence has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves.

Babita Sharma was raised in a corner shop in Reading, and over the counter watched a changing world, from the clientele to the products to the politics of the day. Along with the skills to perfectly mop a floor and stack a shelf, she gained a unique insight into a changing world – and an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive. The Corner Shop is the remarkable human history of these little institutions that have changed the course of the country.

Babita Sharma is a journalist and presenter. A BBC World News anchor, Babita also co-presents the BBC One series Supermarket Shopping Secrets, and her BBC Four documentary – Booze, Beans & Bhajis – was widely praised. Passionate about diversity and mental health issues, Babita works with mental health charity Mind and is part of the diversity programme at the BBC. She lives in London, and is the daughter of two shopkeepers. The Secret History of the Corner Shop is her first book.

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