The Guardian’s guide to independent bookstores

Independent bookshops are the cornerstone of many of our communities, so in conjunction with the Bookseller’s Association, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best

Independent bookshops are the cornerstone of many of our communities, so in conjunction with the Bookseller’s Association, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best. These bookshops span the county, from Belfast to Bideford, and from Orkney to Oxford. Find your local shop below:

Greater London

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Best summer books 2018, as picked by writers and cultural figures – part two

From Pulitzer prize-winners to Penguin classics, poetry anthologies to the latest page-turners, here are the books to take to the beach this summer

Illustrations by Leon Edler

I loved Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer prize-winning Less (Little, Brown) and I can’t think of a better book to stash in your suitcase. It follows Arthur Less – who keeps emphatically reiterating that he is absolutely not heartbroken by his boyfriend marrying someone else – from San Francisco to Japan, to Italy and back again. Like a rare diamond, Greer’s prose sparkles, illuminates and cuts. I’ve also just been sent an advance proof of some new Lucia Berlin short stories, Evening in Paradise (Picador). Any publication of hers is a major cause for celebration, ...

Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison dies aged 84

Prolific writer and critic, whose credits include a Star Trek episode and the short story A Boy and His Dog, died in his sleep

The award-winning writer Harlan Ellison has died at the age of 84.

In his career, Ellison wrote over 1,800 short stories, screenplays, novellas, essays, critiques and teleplays, winning eight Hugo awards. His wife Susan confirmed the news via her friend Christina Valada on Twitter.

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Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison dies aged 84

Prolific writer and critic, whose credits include a Star Trek episode and the short story A Boy and His Dog, died in his sleep

The award-winning writer Harlan Ellison has died at the age of 84.

In his career, Ellison wrote over 1,800 short stories, screenplays, novellas, essays, critiques and teleplays, winning eight Hugo awards. His wife Susan confirmed the news via her friend Christina Valada on Twitter.

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Miles Franklin 2018 shortlist: Gerald Murnane gets first nod in 44-year career

Previous winners Michelle de Kretser and Kim Scott have also been shortlisted for the award

Will Gerald Murnane win the 2018 Miles Franklin for his first nomination in a 44-year literary career? That is the question on the lips of the literary community with the announcement of the shortlist for the $60,000 prize on Sunday night.

Murnane, recently described as “the greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of”, has been shortlisted for Border Districts, a loosely autobiographical novel based on meditations on history, the narrator’s own past, and the boundary between life and death.

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Miles Franklin award 2018: Peter Carey among authors longlisted

Six women and five men will compete for Australia’s most prestigious literary prize

Previous Miles Franklin winners Peter Carey, Michelle de Kretser and Kim Scott are among the 11 authors longlisted for the 2018 literary award – a group whittled down from a total of 71 submissions.

The longlist, which comprises novels from six women and five men, also includes Wayne Macauley (Some Tests), Gerald Murnane (Border Districts), Michael Sala (The Restorer) and Eva Hornung (The Last Garden).

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Xiaolu Guo: ‘Dickens is sentimental, clumsy and lacks poetry’

The London-based Chinese writer on the joys of Germaine Greer and Marguerite Duras, and why English-writing authors are frequently overrated

The book I am currently reading
I picked up At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell in a Berlin English bookshop. It’s such a fun book – a reconstruction of the prosaic life details and animating ideas of existentialists, including Sartre, De Beauvoir, Camus, Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger. I think it could make a great TV series.

The book that changed my life
I didn’t have any feminist reading when I lived in China, and The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer was the first feminist book I encountered when I came to Britain. It was inspiring and revolutionary for me.

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Man Booker prize criticised for changing Taiwanese author’s nationality

Organisers of the prestigious literary prize would not answer queries over whether pressure to change Wu Ming-Yi’s nationality came from China

A Man Booker prize nominee has had his nationality changed from Taiwan to “Taiwan, China”, prompting concern that Beijing exerted pressure on the organisers of the prestigious literary prize.

Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi was put on the long list for the Man Booker international prize this month and posted the good news on his Facebook page. “Even though this is only the first stage of the long list, I am extremely honoured to be on it and even more so given that my nationality is listed as Taiwan. I hope this novel will allow readers to see Taiwan’s history, view, and spirit.”

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Man Booker prize criticised for changing Taiwanese author’s nationality

Organisers of the prestigious literary prize would not answer queries over whether pressure to change Wu Ming-Yi’s nationality came from China

A Man Booker prize nominee has had his nationality changed from Taiwan to “Taiwan, China”, prompting concern that Beijing exerted pressure on the organisers of the prestigious literary prize.

Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi was put on the long list for the Man Booker international prize this month and posted the good news on his Facebook page. “Even though this is only the first stage of the long list, I am extremely honoured to be on it and even more so given that my nationality is listed as Taiwan. I hope this novel will allow readers to see Taiwan’s history, view, and spirit.”

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Madeleine Thien: ‘I can read a book over years, and not feel I have to finish it’

The Canadian writer wishes she’d written Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and was moved by Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places

The book I am currently reading
Fathers and Sons. Turgenev’s novel of generational politics, violence and the desire for change was published more than 150 years ago, but feels inescapably of our time.

The book that changed my life
Red Dust, Ma Jian’s long walk across China to try to know, forgive and yet confront this world.

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David Mitchell meets David Peace: ‘I’ve slowed down. I can’t believe I published eight books in 10 years’

Fifteen years after they made it on to Granta’s best young British novelists list, the two authors discuss self doubt, obsessions and making a home abroad

David Mitchell: To begin, I’d like to float the observation that every author has a limited bundle of archetypal themes – sometimes as few as one. Writers don’t choose these themes as much as inherit them from the patterns of our lives, and even if we try to expel them from a work in progress, they tend to burrow their way back in. Does this sound familiar? One such theme your new book Patient X: The Case Book of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa has in common with everything in that “by the same author” list is mental breakdown, extrapolated to the short-story writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s Technicolor insanity. Would you agree that this is one of your archetypal themes and, if so, can you speculate as to ...

On my radar: Louise O’Neill’s cultural highlights

The Irish novelist on the power of Nan Goldin’s photography, a one-woman show about abortion and a culinary gem in Clonakilty

Born in 1985 in Clonakilty, West Cork, Louise O’Neill is an Irish novelist and journalist. Her debut novel for young adults, Only Ever Yours (2014), explored themes of female beauty and subjugation. This was followed by Asking For It (2015), which depicted the aftermath of a rape and won book of the year at the Irish Book awards. In 2015, she contributed to the essay collection I Call Myself a Feminist. O’Neill’s first adult novel, Almost Love (Quercus, £14.99), is out now in hardback.

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Stella Prize shortlist: Michelle de Kretser and Alexis Wright among nominees

Each shortlisted author receives $3,000 and a writing retreat, while the winner gets $50,000

Books from small and independent presses dominate a very diverse shortlist for the sixth annual $50,000 Stella Prize for Australian writing by women, announced today.

Miles Franklin-award winners Michelle de Kretser and Alexis Wright have both been shortlisted: de Kretser for her book of loosely linked short stories The Life to Come (Allen and Unwin), and Wright for her biography of Indigenous activist Tracker Tillman, published by Giramondo.

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Browse a bookshop: Arthur Probsthain, Bloomsbury, London

Top sellers and recommended reads from the capital

“The bookshop opened in 1903 and is one of the world’s leading specialist oriental and African booksellers,” says owner Lesley Sheringham. “It’s a family business, and until recently three generations of the family worked here. We focus on art, architecture, travel, literature and poetry, and we get visiting scholars and students from all over the world.”

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Zadie Smith: ‘I have a very messy and chaotic mind’

Zadie Smith has been a vital literary voice since her first novel, White Teeth, became an instant bestseller. Here she answers questions from famous fans, including Teju Cole, Philip Pullman and Sharmaine Lovegrove, and a selection of our readers

Zadie Smith’s second collection of essays, Feel Free, could be described as a tour through her enthusiasms punctuated with diversions. She writes with equal fervour about Jay-Z’s rapping, which “pours right into your ear like water from a tap”, as about Edward St Aubyn’s “rich, acerbic comedy”. Her early dislike of Joni Mitchell is used as a segue into a discussion of philistinism and taste. A booklet on early Italian masterpieces sparks an examination of the concept of corpses and the unthinkability of death.

Although the subjects may seem wide-ranging, she says, “they always seem very narrow to me. I’m very familiar with what I’m enthusiastic about, and it’s ...