I lived in Portland, Oregon, for my last five years in America. One of the most venerated icons there is Powell's City of Books, a new and used bookshop whose main branch occupies an entire city block.
I never understood why it was so beloved as an “independent bookstore.” For years, it fought against its staff attempts to unionise, and it sells used books at rip-off prices. (Disclosure: before I learned about the reality behind the image, I spoke at an event there, and did a book-signing.)
Now it has closed indefinitely because of coronavirus, and its staff have received no severance payment and no continued health insurance.
They're still selling books online. Please boycott them as you would Amazon.
“Write what you know” is a maxim preached to aspiring writers.
I get emails from single fathers who tell me The Book of Man captured their experience. I have no children. I get emails from people who’ve been hospitalised for depression saying the same thing about the same book. I have never been depressed, and when I wrote that book I had never been hospitalised.
My publisher, Dockyard Press, has a blog called The Harbourmaster's Loug, which, since starting in November, has published work by an impressive variety of writers. From me there's an essay about why I left America and returned to Glasgow after 22 years, a short story updating William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost-Finder to contemporary Scotland, and a poem.