Gary Younge | ‘It didn’t take any special powers… anybody could’ve done this’


On 12th June 2016, the world witnessed what many US media outlets were calling the “most deadly shooting in US history”, when a gunman walked into a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed at least 49 people, injuring a further 53.

It is in times such as this that the world takes notice, but in the US, on average, seven children are shot dead every day. In Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber, September), journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of 10 youths who were killed on just one of these days: 23rd November 2013. “Whenever there is a big mass shooting, like Columbine or Sandy Hook, then America pays attention, but most kids that are shot dead are killed on a daily basis,” Younge says.


Richard Reed | ‘It’s been a pretty enriching experience’


Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, ascribes the success of the multimillion- pound business to the way the brand’s “joyfulness, creativity and friendliness” managed to “connect with people”. The same could be said for Reed himself, whose exuberance, excitement and genuine interest in the people around him has enabled him to compile a collection of the best advice from some of the most “remarkable people” in the world.

Freight Books’ creditors owed nearly £160k


Freight Books’ authors have been told to buy back their stock or face it being pulped after creditors have revealed the company’s debt is estimated to be £160,000.

Those owed money by the troubled company, which went into provisional liquidation along with parent Freight Design (Scotland) Limited in October 2017, include authors, agents, a printing company and a PR company. The money owed is estimated to amount to £158,799.

‘Alarming’ study reveals only 4% of children’s books feature a BAME character


Only 4% of all the children’s books published in the UK last year featured a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) character, according to “alarming” new figures from a study into ethnic representation in children’s literature.

The study, initiated by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and funded by Arts Council England, found that of the 9,115 children’s books published in the UK in 2017, only 391 – 4% – featured a BAME character.

Scottish Book Trade conference calls for cultural change as Brexit looms


The cloud of Brexit hung over the Scottish Book Trade conference on 26th February, although the mood of the day was one of optimism and resilience.

A record number of 250 delegates attended the conference, held jointly by Publishing Scotland and the Booksellers Association, at its new location of Surgeons Quarter in central Edinburgh. With a jam-packed programme featuring three keynote speeches and a range of sessions squeezed into one day, the possibility of extending the conference to two days was discussed.

Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené | ‘Just because something is by black women and about black women, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be mainstream’


First published in The Bookseller magazine in 2018. 

“You have to work twice as hard to get half as much as your white counterparts.” That’s the mantra—or warning—that is drilled into black British children by our parents. From a very early age we’re aware that due to a crippling mix of structural inequality, unconscious bias and racial micro-aggressions, this is the unstable foundation upon which we will attempt to build careers, relationships and lives. For black women, we also have to grapple with the intersections between our blackness and our womanhood.

Enter Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by best friends Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, which says to black women they are valued and have within them the tools they need to survive and thrive in society, by laying out the stories of the phenomenal women who have gone before them, including book trade figures Margaret Busby, Malorie Blackman and Sharmaine Lovegrove, as well as media figures such as June Sarpong, Charlene White and Clara Amfo.

Alexander McCall Smith | ‘You have to know the places you’re writing about’


Alexander McCall Smith is a man of many talents. Trained in medical law, he published his first non-academic book—children’s title The White Hippo (Hamish Hamilton)—in 1980, and until 2015 was a professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh. He is now emeritus professor. A prolific writer, last year he worked on no fewer than seven separate projects; one of them was writing a libretto for an opera.