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The Orenda Roadshow has been in full swing this week as a host of international authors were led on a tour of the country by independent publisher Karen Sullivan. On their way they shared their latest books and insights into their writing as well as supporting independent booksellers who hosted several of the events. I went along to the Thursday evening even at Southwell Library hosted by Lowdham bookseller The Bookcase and came away enthused, energised and determined to do what I could to support the independents.

It was fantastic to be able to talk to the dozen authors who came along to Southwell, many of whom I have read for years but also some I have yet to read at all. I was able to talk about the differences between writing alone and with a partner with Thomas Enger, whose new book Death Deserved is the first in a series written in collaboration with Jorn Lier Horst. I chatted with West Camel, the Orenda editor turned author, about his novel Attend which I acquired on the night and now cannot wait to read, especially now knowing that another book is in the pipeline.

It was also great to be able to talk in person with Simone Buchholz whose fabulous Chas Riley series has been a conversation on social media and to talk to Johanna Gustawsson about her grandfather’s influence on two of her novels, the incredibly moving Block 46 and most recent release Blood Song. Of course it was also a chance to meet with old favourites like Louise Beech and Michael Malone, enjoy the performance reading talents of Matt Wesolowski, discuss the menopause with Helen Fitzgerald and meet the surprisingly well balanced children of the guy who signs his books “So you want to know about evil…”.

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and coming away from it with an inevitable pile of new books I felt all the more desire to support Orenda Books, Karen and the authors of Orenda personally and my local independent bookshops, The Bookcase in Lowdham and Five Leaves in Nottingham. Whilst I struggle with our consumerist society and the over consumption that is rife in our culture, supporting these independents as a conscious placing of resources into small scale, hardworking people and businesses feels like a meaningful and balanced way of enjoying my love of reading and supporting the creative people without whom it would have no fuel.