Each week Rachel Moore is on the hunt to find out what makes Canberra special to all the wonderful folks who live here.
Just the mention of a boutique bookshop transports most of our minds to the dank, dark and hilarious set of UK comedy TV show, Black Books. However, unlike Bernard, Manny or Fran, Australian Workplace Health and Safety laws prevent James Redden from swigging down bottles of red all day at Harry Hartog where he has been the manager since the store opened in Canberra.
James’ sense of fun, humour and wit, delivered with precision perfect timing, rival Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan. James says what he thinks, and means what he says. His integrity and compassion for the world of literature is an inflatus trend contagious to all those around him.
Although Harry Hartog aesthetically is more Nifty Gifty than Black Books, any who enter the Canberra store can be assured that they will be engaging with a brains trust of Canberra’s finest literary folks.
James is a sucker for “delicious chicken” and while reciting his wedding vows to his beautiful wife, he kept one eye out for park rangers as the rebel couple didn’t obtain a permit for where they held their ceremony. James doesn’t really participate in social media, the world around him is far too beautiful a place.
Name – James Redden
Age – 32
Occupation – Manager of Harry Hartog Bookseller in Woden (Canberra’s best bookshop)
How long have you lived in Canberra – 14ish years
North, South or Q-town – Q-Town all the way!
Most memorable event attended in the ACT – Most of the events that Harry Hartog has hosted are memorable to me. I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from many talented authors. Hosting events, particularly for local authors, is always the most satisfying.
Things you love about Da Berra – It has almost all the things a healthy adult requires, without having to travel too far. The people are pretty easy going and can have a progressive mindset. Also, the trees are really nice and the tap water tastes pretty good too.
What you loath about the city – Not something I necessarily loathe, but I feel like people don’t always get behind local events. There are certain popular events where people come out in numbers, but I’d like to see more people attend some of the low-key indie stuff.
Most cherished memory in the capital – Can my wedding count? It was a quiet ceremony down by the lake. Surprisingly, we had a warm sunny day despite torrential downpours on the days either side. We also weren’t sure if we required a permit, so we had an added stress of watching out for park rangers just in case.
Which Canberra local do you most admire and why – I admire any local Canberran that says that they actually love living in Canberra, and doesn’t complain about how wonderful things actually are in this place.
Most precious item you own – Some of my books are pretty precious, not really worth anything, but emotionally they are precious.
First Canberra kiss and where – Was with a beautiful young lady (now wife) under the cover of darkness somewhere in Lyneham.
Most delicious Berra place you adore eating at – Anywhere that serves delicious chicken. Also, the Kingston Foreshore has some good places to eat at the moment.
What do you want to be when you grow up – An extraordinarily eccentric, wealthy philanthropist, that has the most amazing rare book collection.
Your social media handles – I don’t handle Social Media very well. Hard pass.
What is a question you would like to ask everyone in Canberra – Where are the best places for free parking?