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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Poetic injustice, Part III

I’ve just had an email from Gerry Johnson, the MD of Waterstone’s (see our two posts, the earlier one here, the later one here, on how they got scared of a bunch of Christians and decided to kick a poet out of their Cardiff store, where he was supposed to be doing a signing and reading of his new collection of poems last night).

It just reiterates Waterstone’s position, really: they’re keeping the poet, Patrick Jones, on the shelves, but cancelled the event because they didn’t want trouble.

But, if they expected trouble, the people to call would have been the police. Instead, they bowed to that suitable case for treatment, Stephen Green, and his dog and his pet cockatoo (or whoever makes up the rest of his pathetic little organisation Christian Voice, which gives Christianity a bad name).

Anyway, here is Johnson’s response to an email from me complaining about the cancellation of the event:

Waterstone’s does not act as a censor and will not, and should not, dictate what customers may read. We will only remove a title from sale on the advice of the publisher. This is the case for Patrick Jones book, and it remains available from Waterstone’s. Any comments or complaints regarding the content of the book should be directed to the author or the distributor of the book, the Welsh Books Council.

Regarding the cancellation of the event arranged for this book, Waterstone’s simply took steps to prevent a disorderly event in the interests of our customers and staff.

Let your own views be known to Waterstone’s. Gerry Johnson can be phoned on 020 8742 3800 or emailed at His boss is Simon Fox of HMV. Get him on 020 7432 2000.


Anonymous said...

I'm a lecturer at a large university and have also had my books (including ones with gay topics) sold in Waterstones.

I have written to Waterstones telling them how disappointed I am by their decision to cancel the poetry reading. They're just allowing themselves to be bullied by a hatemonger, and are sending off a terrible message. It makes me wonder why I should bother recommending to my students to buy books from our local Waterstones when they could get them from other sources like Amazon.


Rowan Fortune-Wood said...

Excellent blogs. I work for the publisher involved, Cinnamon Press, and can assure you that it has not and will not advise removal – it’s a shame the BBC does not report on Cinnamon’s response. If you want more info from our side we have launched a video on YouTube you can go to, it includes a public letter to Waterstone’s, which can also be found at this address

Warm Regards,
Rowan & Cinnamon Press