2019 Individual Bookseller of the Year

Winner: Individual Bookseller of the Year

Noor Hemani

Noor Hemani

It is quite a year for the city of Edinburgh at the British Book Awards. Golden Hare Books takes the title of Independent Bookshop of the Year, The Edinburgh Bookshop is highly commended in the Children’s Bookseller of the Year category—and now Noor Hemani of the Lighthouse Bookshop is the Individual Bookseller of the Year.

As a student in the city, Hemani was a regular at the radical independent bookshop before joining the team, and she has quickly had a massive impact on its performance. She has helped to develop one of the most diverse ranges in British bookselling, and spikes in the shop’s sales can often be correlated to her recommendations and handselling.

Beyond that, Hemani had a hand in the shop’s 180 events in 2018, pitching to publishers and shaping sessions at its Radical Book Fair. She leads on the Lighthouse’s outreach work too, which in 2018 included a week of workshops and events with Akala and collaborations with Edinburgh institutions and community groups.

Throughout, she has shown the endless versatility and can-do attitude that indie booksellers need. It makes her much admired by colleagues and customers alike. “Passionate, eloquent and always has her finger on the pulse,” said one bookshop regular in support of her nomination; “She’s the human embodiment of sunshine,” added a colleague.

Individual Bookseller of the Year Shortlist

  • Aude Bolechala
    Manager of Nomad Books in south-west London, she has lifted her bookshop’s sales and profitability and is known by colleagues as the "Book Whisperer"
  • Andrew Forster
    A hugely experienced and respected Waterstones bookseller who has made his store a hub of its Truro community after 24 years as manager, championing local authors and publishers in particular
  • Joe Hedinger
    Has drawn on his previous experience in creative agencies to introduce novel ideas such as "detox reading" evenings to the Book Hive in Norwich, and stepped up the store's social media activity
  • Euan Hirst
    A Blackwell’s professional for more than three decades, he is now chief online bookseller and responsible for ensuring joined-up sales and marketing thinking online and in bricks and mortar stores
  • Jonathan Taylor
    A former Waterstones bookseller who has switched to the independent side to become an integral part of the energetic team at this year’s Independent Bookshop of the Year, Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh