We have been surprised by the furore caused by our book giveaway of some classic dystopian novels at the Book Hive in Norwich (Strange tale of writer’s bookshop boycott, 1 March). While Susan Hill’s reaction seemed largely to be aimed at the bookshop, we would like to put the record straight regarding our actions as members of the book group who started all this. Neither we, nor the Hive, were promoting “anti-Trump” literature. How could we be? These classic books were written well before Donald Trump came on the scene. Our worry was that Trump’s behaviour and values could become normalised. We felt that awareness and debate must be kept alive and sharp to help prevent this.
As book lovers we believe in the power of literature to engage the imagination and intellect, to make connections between imagined and real worlds and to help us reflect critically on what is going on – and, yes, ultimately to take action to help build a more socially just world. We are following up our “giveaway” with informal get-togethers for readers to keep the conversation going.
Book group members
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