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PW: How Four Bestselling Authors Connected with Readers Helped Indie Booksellers & Beat the Pandemic

Updated: 3 days ago

Photo Credit: Sarah & Ben Photography, Tampa, Florida.

What launched as a support group in the early days of Covid-19, Friends & Fiction celebrated its 100th episode on November 24. PW caught up with show's creators and hosts, Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Patti Callahan Henry, to talk about the remarkable rise of a special literary community

by Andrew Albanese |

Nov 30, 2021

In March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, a group of major bestselling authors—Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Patti Callahan Henry—found themselves in a predicament suddenly common to many authors: all four had new books set for spring, but no way to reach readers in the wake of an unprecedented shutdown. So they did what so many of us did to get through the pandemic—they got online.

The Friends & Fiction group went live on April 15, 2020 as a sort of pandemic support group for authors and readers, and with a specific aim of highlighting and supporting indie booksellers through a difficult period. The group hosts a live gathering every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EST (which streams on YouTube, Facebook Live, and now on the Parade Facebook page). The shows feature interviews with major authors, writing tips and insider talk about publishing and writing, lots of book talk, a spotlight on an indie bookseller, and heavy doses of friendship, support, and positivity. The group has hosted some major authors, including Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picoult, Brit Bennett, Sue Monk Kidd, Chris Bohjalian, Delia Owens, Elin Hilderbrand, Eta