The 2003 Granta list of the best young British novelists has just been published. As the years roll by I grow crustily nostalgic of course, but will this lot prove to hold a candle to that truly phenomenal Granta list of 1983? What stars there were in that decade, and what fun we at Waterstone’s (founded just three months before the list appeared) had in rolling out our bookshops, and providing a marketplace for their work. No Borders, no Amazon, no Ottakar’s, just us really – until eventually, and too late to catch us, Dillons (once Terry Maher got bored with his second-hand office furniture business or whatever it was) set off in pursuit. W H Smith, insanely, were at that period issuing press releases proudly demonstrating their diminishing dependence on the book, embarrassing, low-tech, old-market thing that it was . Blackwell’s, easily the best name and the best placed of all, were, as ever, too absorbed in their family battles to notice what was happening. So we had the field pretty much to ourselves. Some independents folded their tents at the sight of us, and with vituperation. Why? We were as strapped for funds as they were, more so probably, but we went to the City, sucked our fingers as doors were slammed on them, and in the end raised, in reluctant dribs and drabs, the money that enabled us to roll.
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Everyone must have been queueing up to review the new Craig Brown Beatles book, which is obviously brilliant – but kudos to @Lit_Review and @DrDominicGreen for conspiring to bring us this bravura reviewing performance (free to read)
@Lit_Review Wahey 🙆 Look at what's arrived today 😎👍🙏😁 Now 4 some proper lockdown reading 😍 God bless the workers 🙏👍
'One victim of this continued repression is writer Saw Win, who in October 2019 was charged with defaming the military after participating in a peaceful rally.'
@lucyjpop on free speech in Myanmar.