Guy Gavriel Kay on "the kindness of booksellers"

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 22:25 -- admin

The relationship between authors and independent bookstores is one that I love. We sustain each other, of course, but we often reward each other, too. There is no better feeling for a writer than to walk into a bookstore and find a manager or employees who know and care for your work, and have been hand-selling (that's the usual term) your writing to their customers. 'I have always depended on the kindness of booksellers,' as Tennessee Williams didn't quite say. But what, really, can be better for an author than knowing there are people out there grabbing innocent browsers and declaring, 'You must read this book!'

And so many booksellers I know say that the pleasure of discovering a new writer, or a strong work from an old favourite, before publication or as a first reader after release (because, like, they get the books right away!) is one of the delights of a challenging business.But that challenging in the last sentence is a key, alas. It can't be a secret to anyone that these are difficult times for independent booksellers. They may be creative, industrious, whip-smart and fine and true (as Hemingway might put it) in their love of books but ... it is still ferociously difficult. There is no magical solution to this, but there are gestures of support that can - and should - be made. And that is why I am backing the Authors For Indies initiative, and I'll be out there on May 2nd in an independent bookstore, buttonholing people who recklessly wander in, and saying, 'You must read this!'

Want to know which books I say it about? Or what other authors across Canada believe you really must read to have lived a truly rich life? Click on your province's page on this website and find out where we all are as May 2nd approaches, and come see, talk, buy, support.

Join us.

(c) 2015 Guy Gavriel Kay | Photo: Samantha Kidd


On May 2, Book City at 348 Danforth Avenue (Toronto) will be hosting Guy Gavriel Kay.

Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of twelve novels (most recently River of Stars), and a book of poetry. He has written book reviews and social and political commentary for the National Post and the Globe and Mail in Canada, and The Guardian in England. Translations of his fiction exceed twenty-five languages and his books have appeared on bestseller lists in many countries. Kay has spoken and read on behalf of his publishers and at literary events around the world. He was been nominated for and has won numerous literary awards and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Prize for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic. In 2014 he was named to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour.