Politics & Prose's 'Worst Former Employee' Is a Pulitzer Winner

Andrew Sean Greer

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Andrew Sean Greer (Less) spoke with Washington City Paper about his "D.C. roots and the subtle joys of fiction writing." He also explained how he earned the joking sobriquet of Politics & Prose's "worst former employee" for his tenure there as a bookseller during the summers of 1989 and 1990:

"It was my first summer job during college. And I don't quite remember what made me such a terrible employee. Perhaps I misshelved things. Gabriel Garcia Marquez went alternately in 'G' and 'M,' depending on the day. That kinda thing. And I talked way too much.

"I had been friends with Eve Cohen since I was 12, and had often been to her mother's store--Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade started Politics & Prose. The bookstore was a world of strong opinion, enthusiasm, argument, politics, and family. Working there seemed natural to me--and a kindness from Carla and Barbara.

"I began the summer [that] the bookstore crossed Connecticut Avenue, and I remember that the customers were the ones who moved the store, box by box, across the road. That sense of community around books was something I have loved ever since. In fact, my favorite bookstore in San Francisco, Booksmith, was started by a couple who met with Carla and Barbara many times to learn how to build that kind of community, which they have."

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