Here I am, in my favourite bookshop in the whole world, brandishing my signing pen and getting stuck into a pile of paperbacks that might seem familiar. It’s been emotional.
Broadhurst’s is a very special place. It is a four-floor treasure trove of beautifully curated new and secondhand books. The oldest independent bookshop in the North West of England, it was established in 1920, and has been delighting readers in Southport, where I grew up, ever since. Bob, a central figure in Rockstar Ending, spent his early years in the same town, and some of the action unfolds in my old haunts.
This was where I was sent to choose my school prizes. They always had to be books. The shop had the contract for all the schools in town. I like to think that if Hogwarts were looking for a recommended bookshop, Broadhurst’s would be a strong contender. I still have the anthology of Victorian Parlour Poetry I picked, forty years later, inscribed with: ‘Spoken English Prize, 1977’.
As I have gravitated towards a writer’s life, each visit to Southport has drawn me back to Broadhurst’s. I keep packing my bags for the return journey with books you just don’t happen across anywhere else.
This time I came away with a secondhand Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction that weighs about five kilos, guaranteeing a simultaneous workout for both mind and body.
As you can tell from the picture, this trip was even more special than usual. Being asked to sign their copies of Rockstar Ending, and seeing my novels displayed alongside other autographed editions, was a precious moment.
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