Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Independent bookshops and author readings

The Guardian Arts Diary reports today on a bid by respected authors to support 'Britain's embattled independent bookshops' by taking part in a festival which sounds more like a moving feast: 'talks and events in independent bookshops nationwide'. There's no information about when it will take place.

It's been a while now, but here in Manchester we are still mourning the loss of our once-great author-readings bookshop culture, centred on the non-independent Waterstone's Deansgate. OK, so it cost, but did it really? There was such a buzz, which attracted so many book buyers, not just to the readings, but to the shop as a cultural centre and meeting place. I bought so many books then: it's because of that period in the history of Manchester's bookshops that my house is groaning with books, and we trip over them on the way to the loo.

Waterstone's still holds the odd reading though, mainly for local authors. On the 13th March Dedalus Press present a night of Decadence and Noir with Nicholas Royle and Andy Oates, and on the 15th there's a launch of a new book by Mike Duff from Crocus Books.

From a writer's point of view, it's a great chance to connect with readers, which is presumably why, now that this culture is to be focused on the smaller bookshops, participating writer Jake Arnott feels moved to say that 'Smaller bookshops are really where the heart of a writer lies'.

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