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The Stories, the People and the Magic of BCBF

The Magic Bookshop

Natalie Jane Prior talks about the picture book featured in the BCBF online exhibition A UNIVERSE OF STORIES - Starring: the Book.

  |   TOPICS: Exhibitions
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Author Natalie Jane Prior tells about “The Magic Bookshop”, the picture book she created with Cheryl Orsini on show in the BCBF online exhibition A UNIVERSE OF STORIES - Starring: the Book.

Writing The Magic Bookshop

In Australia, we are lucky to have a tradition of very good, independent bookshops. Writing this in a time of turmoil, with world economies faltering, I have to admit I am praying we will still have them when the COVID-19 crisis is over. Independent bookshops are precious because the people who own and work in them are readers, who care passionately about books, are knowledgeable about what’s being published and, most important of all, have individual taste. When you shop at an independent bookshop, you are in effect browsing a curated collection of titles. As a lifelong book collector, I can honestly say that there is no shopping experience more blissfully enjoyable than going into a bookshop where the owner’s taste precisely meshes with my own.

In The Tales of Mrs Mancini, a book of stories Cheryl Orsini and I published in 2017, one of the characters is a boy called Jack, whose parents run the local bookshop. We had many favourable comments from booksellers, so I decided to take the “bookshop boy” idea a little further, drawing inspiration from the loving relationship I had with my grandfather, who was a voracious reader. Ben’s adventures in Grandad’s bookshop are a metaphor for the worlds of adventure, knowledge and imagination that books make possible, and the setting is my way of paying tribute to all the special bookshops that I have known and loved.

by Natalie Jane Prior

The Magic Bookshop, “Tiger”, story video, read by Natalie Jane Prior.
(Courtesy of ABC Books/HarperCollins, Australia)


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