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The UK’s Bookseller magazine is calling for authors to write “an ode to booksellers” to underline the vital role they play and to celebrate their existence as the lockdown continues.

The idea came from author Matson Taylor and his agent Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown.  Taylor, who is a design historian and academic writing tutor at London’s V&A Museum, Imperial College and the Royal College of Art, wrote his own tribute to booksellers after the tour for his debut novel The Miseducation of Evie Epworth.

He says: “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.”

The Bookseller says that a selection of the odes will be published on 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.

Booksellers Association MD 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.”

Authors should send their entries, which can be of any length and can be humorous or serious, to [email protected], before 5 p.m. on Friday 26th February.