Unfortunately, Paul Francis will not be able to join us on Books Are My Bag day anymore. If you'd like a signed or personalised copy of any of his work, please do let us know and we can arrange a signing at a different time, ready for you to collect on Books Are My Bag day - Saturday 10 October. Although Paul won't be able to make it in person, he will provide a poem for us to read out instead!
Paul Francis is a national prize-winning poet and playwright, and the current Wenlock Poetry Festival Poetry Slam champion. His recent book, Writing For Blockheads, celebrates the lot of the amateur writer and argues that writing is rewarding in itself whether or not the writer gets paid. Paul is a retired teacher who lives in Much Wenlock.
1) Why are high street and independent bookshops important to you?
“They have a higher proportion of books I want to look at – not wall-to-wall displays of junk. I can take my time, browse, not feel hassled. The staff are human beings who know and care about books."
2) Name your three favourite independent bookshops (apart from us, of course!). What makes them special?
“Does anyone need any bookshop other than Wenlock Books? I don’t get to many others. Happy memories of Scarthin’s, in Cromford, a long time ago. Castle Books, Ludlow, and Pengwern, Shrewsbury are fine, but I don’t get there much."
3) What is the best, funniest, quirkiest or most moving experience you have ever had in a bookshop?
“The cartoonist Jackie Fleming, doing a signing upstairs at Wenlock Books. With difficulty, a woman climbs the stairs to get a book signed. Her daughter had recently died after a tough terminal illness, and what had kept her going was a card of Jackie’s cartoon clipped to her bedroom mirror – “Never give up.”"
QUICK FIRE ROUND!
4) What three words come to mind when you think of Wenlock Books?
“Relaxed, stylish, friendly."
5) What has been your favourite book of 2015 so far?
“Sarah Hall – The Wolf Border."
6) What books are you looking forward to reading before the end of the year?
“Amy Lawrence - The Invincibles
Emma Sky - The Unravelling
Maddy Paxman - The Great Below."
7) What are your top three desert island reads?
“Oscar and Lucinda
The Biographical Dictionary of Film
101 sonnets (edited by Don Paterson)."