Poet Carol Ann Duffy will undertake a nationwide tour of independent bookshops this summer to support the 10th anniversary of Independent Bookshop Week (IBW).
Starting on Sunday 19th June and partnering with independent bookshops around the UK, the "Shore to Shore: Celebrating Poetry and Community with the Laureate and Friends" tour will see Duffy perform alongside fellow poets including Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker and Jackie Kay.
The poets will be accompanied by music from instrumentalist and composer John Sampson, with a special guest spot every night from a poet local to each venue.
The tour will run for 14 consecutive days across Britain, from Cornwall to Scotland, taking place in a range of "atmospheric" external venues, including an old music hall and a cathedral.
Participating booksellers are Falmouth Booksellers (Cornwall), where the tour begins, as well as Mr B’s Emporium (Bath), Blackwell’s (Oxford), Jaffé & Neale (Chipping Norton), Rossiter Books (Monmouth), Book-ish Bookshop (Crickhowell), Wenlock Books (Much Wenlock); Booka Bookshop (Oswestry); Palas Print (Caernarfon); Simply Books (Bramhall); Bookends (Carlisle); Forum Books (Corbridge); Mainstreet Trading Company (St Boswells); Atkinson-Pryce Books (Biggar) and Topping & Co (St Andrews).
To mark the tour, Picador will publish a special collection of original poetry in celebration of bookshops, commissioned and edited by Duffy. It will be published as a small hardback with a ribbon marker at £9.99, and will be available for IBW in June.
The contributers include Duffy, Clarke, Dharker, Kay, Clive James, Sean Borodale, Daljit Nagra, Michael Longley, Neethan Kunaratnam, Kit Wright, Patience Agbabi, Rachael Boast, James Sutherland-Smith, Michael Symmons Roberts, Mark Pajak and Liz Lefroy.
Duffy praised the "enthusiastic" response of Picador and of the BA, she said: "When I approached my publisher Picador with the idea of touring nationwide with a group of fellow poets, working in collaboration with independent bookshops, I was delighted by their enthusiastic response and that of the Booksellers Association. It is my belief that there is not a writer nor a reader in the land who is not passionate about independent, local bookshops; 'Shore to Shore' will celebrate both our national art form and our wonderful independent bookshops, so often the cultural heartbeat of their local communities.”
Anna Bond, UK sales director at Pan Macmillan, said: “'Shore to Shore' is a tour to celebrate so many of the things that are important to Pan Macmillan and I could not be more delighted that it has all come together. We are extremely proud to publish Carol Ann Duffy and to be able to work alongside her to spread our love of poetry for both adults and children. We see Independent Bookshops as central to everything that we do and are so pleased to be able to take this tour to them and, through them, to their local schools and communities.”
Meryl Halls, head of membership services, The Booksellers Association, said: “We are thrilled and honoured that such a prestigious – and long-hoped-for - author tour is this year partnering with us in such a special year. We’re sure that the bookshops, the poets and the campaign will all see a fantastically positive reaction from readers and bookshop customers, and we can’t wait for the tour to start, and for the surrounding activity to begin. What a great way to celebrate our 10th Birthday!”
The tour dates are Sunday 19th June to Saturday 2nd July 2016. A dedicated site, www.carolannduffyandfriends.co.uk, will hold all information about the tour and will be the main hub for ticket sales.