The Bookseller is calling for authors to pen an “ode to booksellers” as part of a celebration of the trade during a time when high-street bookshops are unable to open their doors. The idea came from author Matson Taylor who wrote his own tribute to booksellers, following a book tour he undertook in summer 2020, and his agent Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown.
A selection of odes will be published on theBookseller.com with authors invited to participate in a national celebration of bookselling at the end of Springboard, the joint online conference being organised by The Bookseller the Booksellers Association in the week beginning 1st March.
Taylor, whose book The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is to be published in paperback in April by Simon & Schuster, said: "Independent bookshops really are Palaces of Pleasure. They are magical creative places staffed by people who are wise, funny, glorious and kind. Places to learn, to laugh, to chat, to smile and to gossip (there's always lots of top-class gossip). Indie bookshops and indie booksellers are national treasures, the crown jewels of many local communities."
Booksellers Association m.d. Meryl Halls said: “The relationship between an author and a bookshop can be incredibly special, and we are really pleased to be working with The Bookseller team on this celebration of bookshops by authors. We know all too well how hard booksellers are working during lockdown to keep getting books to customers, and we know how mutually reliant and respectful booksellers and authors are, so it will be wonderful to see these love letters to bookshops take shape—it’ll give a huge shot in the arm to weary (but endlessly cheerful) booksellers.”
Philip Jones editor of The Bookseller added: "There's never been a more important time for authors to show their love for booksellers and for bookshops, and we encourage one and all to take part in this national celebration of booksellers which, if nothing, else will give a little something back to trade that none of us could do without."
Odes, of any length, humorous or serious, lyrical or not, may be sent to Tamsin.Hackett@thebookseller.com, before 5 p.m. on Friday 26th February. Selected authors will be invited to take part in a Zoom videoconference with booksellers as part of Springboard on 5th March at 4 p.m. All rights remain with the authors; with the odes to reproduced only with permission of the writers.
In Taylor's ode he recounts: "Thank you for saying I look younger in real life than in the publicity photo / Thank you for letting me make a big fuss of your dog / Thank you for giving me a funny-face mini plantpot when I said how nice they were / Thank you for inviting me on your podcast / Thank you for recommending my book to practically everyone who came in your shop / Thank you for being so generous and supportive to an unknown debut novelist who had no idea what he was meant to be doing.“
Springboard is a free conference organised organised by The Bookseller and the Booksellers Association at which booksellers and The Bookseller's previewers will showcase the seasons big new titles. To secure your place visit: thebookseller.zoom.us/webinar/register.