North Carolina Bookseller Begs Authors Not to Boycott

By Dianna Dilworth 

A huge number of people, companies and even state governments have revealed plans to boycott North Carolina, after the state’s government passed a law that bans transgender citizens from using bathrooms not assigned to their birth gender, among other things.

However, bookseller Linda-Marie Barrett, general manager of Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville, N.C, is hoping authors won’t skip out on readings at her store. In an open letter to authors, Barrett points out that the store promotes “free speech, human rights and tolerance,” and will be allowing people to use any bathroom they want.

The letter comes after author Sherman Alexie cancelled an event scheduled for May. While understanding to his position, Barrett argues that now, “we have lost an opportunity to connect this charismatic, inspiring author with those young readers who were going to see him on school visits.”

“We also lost the opportunity to host him at a large venue, which would have connected him with fans in a city that stands with him and could have used his support,” she continues in the letter.

While children’s book authors said that they would still visit libraries and schools in the state, Barrett can’t understand why bookstores would be shunned. Here is more from the letter:

If more authors boycott NC because of HB2, we will be financially stricken. We sympathize with their stance, but we hope that authors will choose another way to protest. By protesting in this manner, targeting bookstores, they are directly hurting their fiercest allies. Please don’t abandon us; we need your support now more than ever.