Who is the best? Your favourite? Top ten? Blah blah. Of course it’s silly, there’s room for more than ten, one should be ‘allowed’ to pick however many one likes…but it’s a game we play. From best friends to favourite bands we pick and choose, and shuffle, add and subtract from our internal lists.
Who is your favourite writer?
I have several that always make my own ‘authors that I love/admire/respect’ internal list, and one of them is Janice Galloway. If I am ever asked to pick one novel from the many I have read to recommend then I will choose ‘The trick is to keep breathing’.
It’s a wonderful book describing a woman’s grief and unravelling life. It feels familiar and yet illuminates with such precision that it astonishes me. It melds wit with empathy and employs trailing sentences and playful typography that all work towards the creation of a very ‘real’ character in Joy (ho ho).
Galloway’s short stories similarly shine truth on our lives, and I marvel constantly at how skilled she is at picking the exact right words.
And in my bookshop I couldn’t recommend her because we didn’t stock her. (Please note past tense! )
I can’t imagine why she wasn’t stocked because to me she is one of the most important writers alive. As a trying/aspirational/daring to go for the dream/ writer myself it is frustrating to think that one may be as gloriously talented as Janice Galloway, and still not get sales and support. What hope is there for the rest of us?
I ordered in a few copies of her short story collection ‘Where you find it’ for my short story display. I wrote a review for it, saying ‘You should buy this book and discover her talent for yourself’, and people have. It’s thrilling, we have reordered a couple of times now, and I’m talking about 12 copies in total, not hundreds or thousands, nothing that’s of any consequence. Still, they are copies that wouldn’t have sold otherwise, so in a teeny tiny way I am doing a little something to promote her work. I have ordered in copies of ‘The trick is to keep breathing’ too.
It makes me smile to know that people have read my recommendation and given a book a go, and it’s a good feeling knowing that a brilliant author is being discovered by people who may not otherwise have come across her.