Ask almost anyone in Guelph where the community’s cultural hub resides, and chances are a good number of folks will answer quickly and succinctly: ‘The Bookshelf.’ Indeed, Guelph’s favourite bookstore, cinema, restaurant and bar (which also functions as a live music and performance venue and gallery) nourishes mind, body and soul – all under one roof. Consider this: The Bookshelf has hosted Margaret Atwood each time she’s published a major novel. Not small potatoes. As Bookshelf co-owner Ben Minett muses: ‘It’s hard to put parameters around what The Bookshelf does – and means – for Guelph. Our programing continues to expand as we attempt to satiate Guelph’s appetite for good books, movies, food, music and more.’ To be sure.

Take Café Philosophique, for example – a collaborative lecture series put on by The Bookshelf, The University of Guelph College of Arts, and the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. The series has brought speakers from across North America to the city to share their ideas and writings about a wide range of topics from both fictional and non-fictional worlds. Past speakers include (but are far from limited to): Massey Lecturers Adam Gopnik and Lawrence Hill, former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, and novelists Yann Martel and Emma Donnohue.

This Fall, The Bookshelf continues to build on the Café Philosophique brand with a presentation by 2017 Massey Lecturer Payam Akhavan, reading from and discussing his compelling new book, ‘In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey.’ Be sure not to miss this event – to be held October 7th, 7pm at Knox Presbyterian Church in Guelph .