Woman in Black author Susan Hill accuses Norwich Book Hive of 'censorship' and being 'anti-Trump' as she cancels her book signing
PUBLISHED: 18:46 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:43 01 March 2017
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A top author has left a Norwich bookshop "astounded" after cancelling her book-signing and accusing its owners of censorship over the stocking of books about Donald Trump.
Woman in Black author Susan Hill pulled the plug on the event at The Book Hive on London Street - before publishing a fierce attack on it on the website of The Spectator.
Ms Hill, who lives in north Norfolk, said: “I do not expect a bookshop to have posters and a Twitter feed and a Facebook page telling me it is so against what the President of the United States stands for/believes/is/is doing that it is stocking only books devoted to those writers who oppose him too, and what is more, will give them away free.
“Needless to say, the opposite is also true. You will not find Donald Trump’s autobiography here, or anything by those authors known to support/admire/have voted for him.”
She added: “This is a form of censorship and, of all places, a bookshop (like a library) should never ever indulge in that.”
Ms Hill went on: “What is more, if I am a bookseller I will not agree with many of the views expressed by some of the authors whose books I stock, but if they are legal and legally published, I will not censor those books in terms of not putting them on my shelves.”
She said the owners had put their own “political and personal views about the USA and its President before their business, their customers and what a bookshop is and must be about”.
The Book Hive responded with a statement on its Facebook page, saying: “This extraordinary article by Susan Hill in The Spectator has left us astounded. She has never been to the shop, has fabricated almost everything she has said about our stock, has claimed we have imposed a ‘ban’ on books we don’t approve of with no evidence to support this at all and says our ‘bias’ interferes with customers’ rights to browse and choose.
“It is a deeply flawed and inaccurate portrayal of the shop – to say nothing of unpleasant - and the way we operate.”
The statement said the Book Hive had also lost a “not insignificant amount of money in returned ticket prices and wasted advertising”.
Responding to the specific allegation about anti-Trump bias, it said: “A local book group asked if they might use the shop as a base to give out a number of copies of various titles which they thought make essential reading in the light of recent actions by the Trump administration, which they would pay for.
“We happily agreed, and said we would waive the full retail costs of those books as we admired their generosity and did not want to make money from it.”