The Last Bookshop by Emma Young is a book about what happens when you’re faced with the decision to sink or swim, it’s about a shared love of reading, finding your community and caring for one another. In this first Love to Read Local podcast Emma talks to talks to City of Hungerford winner Maria Papas.
Emma says, ‘I wanted to write a book that told all the weird and wonderful stories that I had collected over my years of working as a bookseller … all the funny humans that you meet and all of the funny … and strange anecdotes that build up whenever you work in any kind of customer service.’
She says the book is about Cait Copper, the owner of the last bookshop remaining in the city centre and the last independent store remaining on what’s become an exclusive location. ‘By the end of the book Cait has built up a wisdom about loneliness that would be something along the lines of you’re never really lonely if you can rely on yourself and be comfortable with the idea of loneliness in yourself.’ But Emma says, beyond that Cait would say you’ll never be lonely if you’ve got a place to go where like-minded people can gather and where bonds are formed through a shared love of the written word.
We think it’s the perfect book to kick off Love to Read Local!
After five years in bookselling, Emma retrained as a journalist and has been reporting since 2011: first for community papers, then as a statewide digital journalist for WAtoday. Her work also regularly appears in sister publications the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. The Last Bookshop was shortlisted for the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award in 2019.
Maria Papas won the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award and her debut novel Skimming Stones will be out in 2021. She has published stories and essays in various journals including TEXT, Griffith Review, Axon and The Letters Page. She holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia.
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This episode is produced by Fremantle Press for Love to Read Local. To listen to more episodes, subscribe to the Fremantle Press Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
About Love to Read Local by Writing WA
Love to Read Local is a statewide, celebration of Western Australian stories, books and writers. Visit the Love to Read Local website to connect with other readers, tell us which local books you love to read and perhaps inspire others to read those books too!
Music: ‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from the Meat Lunch EP: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.
Producer: Claire Miller
Mastered and edited by: Aidan d’Adhemar