Sylvia Beach Whitman

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Sylvia Whitman
Born April 1, 1981 (1981-04) (age 35)
Residence Paris, France
Alma mater University College London
Occupation Proprietress
Parent(s) George Whitman
Felicity Leng

Sylvia Whitman (April 1, 1981[1] ) is the proprietor of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, a popular tourist attraction.[2][3] She is the daughter of the shop's founder, the late George Whitman.


Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and young Sylvia Whitman in front of Shakespeare and Company, Paris, 1991
Shakespeare & Co Books, Paris, 2011.

Whitman is the only child of George Whitman. She was named after Sylvia Beach, founder of the original Shakespeare & Company bookstore, a former haunt of Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce.[2][4][5]

Her parents divorced when she was seven, and she went to stay with her mother in England. After staying for 10 years in London and Edinburgh with her mother, Sylvia Whitman returned and took over the running of the shop in 2003 at age 22,[6] and continues to run it in the same manner as her father, allowing young writers to live and work in the bookstore. Whitman has also started a biennial literary festival, FestivalandCo, which has hosted such writers as Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Jeanette Winterson, Jung Chang and Marjane Satrapi.[7]

Media appearances[edit]

Whitman appeared on the Paris episodes of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which aired the week of August 1, 2011.

She featured in the 2014 BBC television documentary Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities. episode 2. Paris 1928 by Dr James Fox.


  1. ^ A. Craig Copetas (June 7, 2009). "Hemingway’s Hangout Spruces Up to Defy Amazon". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  2. ^ a b Jo Lennan. "Paris: 10 Things to Do — 4. Shakespeare and Company Bookshop". TIME. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  3. ^ "Shakespeare & Company". Time Out Paris. Nov 16, 2011. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  4. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  5. ^ Leah Hyslop (9 Nov 2012). "Turning the page at Shakespeare and Company". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 
  6. ^ "The "Found Generation" -- The New Literary Paris Legends", International Living, August 11, 2004
  7. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 

External links[edit]