Prospero’s Books Turns 20

Last Thursday, Prospero’s Books, a combined book-and-stationery store and café tucked in a sunny courtyard just off Rustaveli Avenue, invited long-term friends and customers to celebrate the 20th year since it first opened its doors.

The idea, and recognition of a need for a book store selling English books, was identified by author, trekker and guide, Peter Nasmyth and Irakli Topuria. While it started out as a casual discussion following the opening of the International House bookshop, and a toast to a wish coming true, Topuria was quick to find just the right place: an unloved courtyard at Rustaveli 34. The funds were raised to buy the property, with Nasmyth putting in almost all he had, and the renovation work began. Finding investors was hard, Nasmyth reports, but along came current General Manager of Hotel Betsy’s, Steven Johnson and his brother, and Steve’s wife Tamara (Tako).

“Tamara has worked extremely hard to make this work,” Nasmyth said, thanking the Manager in particular for her energy and dedication.

GEORGIA TODAY spoke to manager Tako Johnson about the Prospero’s journey.

“The highlights have been that I personally enjoyed giving some benefit to society, meeting wonderful people and customers from all over the world and making them feel at home. The challenges have been many over these 20 years: among them was feeling the gaps between the Western standards and local established practices, maintaining the professionalism and quality of service.”

Many praise Prospero’s for being an island of western calm in the Tbilisi urban sprawl, offering numerous works of fiction, non-fiction and educational material to Georgia’s English-speaking community. It also plays host to book launches, meet-the-author signings and a variety of educational events. Already boasting three branches in Tbilisi, Prospero’s future goals include opening another store on Abashidze Street and expanding to other cities of Georgia.

By Katie Ruth Davies

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