Some 1,000 books that belonged to the late Welsh journalist and author Dawn Foster are going on sale at a radical bookshop with a special stamp honouring her. 

The writer, from Newport, died in July due to causes related to a long-term illness. She was just 34 years old. 

Friends have donated her library, which includes books she had reviewed for publications such as the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement, to Housmans Bookshop in London’s King's Cross. 

It will sell the books in a library sale, with prices pegged at just £1, £3 or £5, with the proceeds going to support the not-for-profit shop that is run by its staff. Buyers are also being encouraged to make a donation to three named charities which Dawn supported. 

Nik Górecki, of Housmans, said staff at the shop had gotten to know Dawn, who had hosted an event, on modern slavery, with the writer Emily Kenway at the shop earlier this year, and she had also been shortlisted for The Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing, which it facilitates. 

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“Dawn also loved to browse in our second hand basement,” said Nik. 

“We were very honoured to receive Dawn's library. We have since been told that Dawn thought highly of us, and we feel a sense of responsibility to treat this in a way that best serves her memory.  

“As with other library donations we have had in the past we are always keen to pass the books on as affordably as possible. As well as the value of the books themselves it is a nice way for people to have something tangible by which to remember her by.” 

The National Wales: One of the first books in Dawn's library to be stampedOne of the first books in Dawn's library to be stamped

As a tribute the shop has also made a stamp, with pink ink, reading ‘DAWN FOSTER FOREVER’ with a love heart and ‘From the library of Dawn Foster 1985-2021'. 

Others to have donated their libraries, or part of their collections, to the shop include activist and writer Tariq Ali and the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall.

Nik said staff had wanted to pay a special tribute to Dawn, who gained a schoolarship to study English at Warwick University having spent time in care during her childhood. 

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“Dawn was widely respected in left political circles and her death at such a young age came as a great shock to many. By stamping each book individually we reasoned that it would be a way we could play a small part in honouring her memory. Books have long lives and often get handed on from owner to owner, by stamping them in this way her name will be passed on with them.” 

Dawn had been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for journalism for her investigations for The Guardian, on the housing crises. She was praised for her work reporting on the Grenfell fire tragedy including unearthing a blog post in which residents raised fears its refurbishment could pose a fire risk. 

She was also considered a fearless columnist who challenged other more established, and right-wing, commentators and figures. 

“In an era where client journalism is so common she stood out as fearless and committed,” said Nik: “It seems very likely that this closed doors for her in the mainstream press. 

“She read widely and was critically engaged across a range of social justice issues. In person she was razor sharp and affable. By the standards of the media establishment she was an outsider, but to so many of us she was a ray of common sense and clarity.” 

The former Caerleon Comprehensive pupil had published her first book Lean Out in 2016 which was a rebuttal of Sheryl Sandberg’s argument that corporate women could succeed by "leaning in" to their careers and earned Dawn The Bread & Roses nomination. 

Sandberg’s Lean In:Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is among the books in Dawn’s library that have been donated and which Nik said staff are currently stamping their way through. 

“The collection is predominantly contemporary left-wing non-fiction. In addition to her own reading she received many review copies, and there is also a lot of great literary fiction.  

“We are still going through the collection, but one title that has stood out so far was Dawn's copy of 'Lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg - it was the deconstruction of this book that forms the basis for Dawn's book 'Lean Out'.” 

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Housmans was established in the aftermath of World War II as a strong anti-war sentiment developed in the UK, and the shop says it was born of a vibrant peace movement to make available books against war and for a better world. 

The sale, which is in-store only, will open on Saturday, October 16 at 11am and shoppers are also urged to make donations to Sisters Uncut a feminist charity working with those who’ve experienced domestic and institutional violence, Catholic Worker which fights injustice and Ace of Clubs a charity working with youths in west London that Dawn’s church works closely with.

More information can be found on Housmans' website by clicking here

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