Gardners and Raynor among award winners at BA Conference

Gardners and Raynor among award winners at BA Conference

Awards celebrating figures from across the publishing industry have been announced at the Booksellers Association Conference, with recognition for Gardners and Headline's Caitlin Raynor among others.

Gardners won the Booksellers Association (BA) award for Outstanding Contribution, becoming the first organisation to receive the accolade. The award, which has previously been presented at the Nibbies and Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, recognises the winner's long-term support of the industry. It was presented on 13th September at the BA's annual conference, held at Jury's Inn Hotel in Leciester.

Raynor received the Sophie Christopher Publicist of the Year Award, while Richard Fortey of the Independent Alliance won Rep of the Year for the second time. 

Both awards are determined by nominations from booksellers attending the conference, with 145 nominations received this year — an increase of 13% on the 2019 awards.

In addition to the returning prizes, Bookbugs and Dragon Tales bookseller Dan Fridd has become the first recipient of the Bookshop Hero award, new this year. There was also a surprise award for Bookseller editor Philip Jones, who was named Bookseller Champion.
Meryl Halls, m.d. of the BA, said: “After a challenging time for the entire publishing industry, it is wonderful to come together in person at the BA Conference to reconnect, share stories and celebrate those who have demonstrated incredible passion, creativity and resilience in their support of the trade during this period. We are delighted to recognise the hard work and dedication of our winners. From booksellers’ comments, it is clear that these heroes, who are outstanding supporters of bookshops in the best of times, have gone even further to support them in troubled times. Caitlin, Rich and Dan are all treasured by their bookselling partners and it’s wonderful to see them honoured in this way.”

“And it’s an honour to present the Outstanding Contribution Award to Gardners Books, in acknowledgement of their long-term support for the industry and their tireless efforts from the very first days of the pandemic. Continuing to operate during lockdowns and keeping the supply chain functioning in unprecedented circumstances, the entire Gardners team stepped up to support booksellers when they needed it most. Their continuous innovation, investment and practical support for bookshops and the BA has long been a cornerstone of the bookselling community, allowing us all to flourish and continue bringing books to readers.”

The awards came at the close of the two days of the Gardners Trade Show and BA Conference 2021, which included keynote speeches from author Richard Osman, TV’s Dr Hilary Jones, and novelist Sebastian Faulks, as well as presentations from publishers and sessions for booksellers. Halls and BA president Andy Rossiter also laid out their priorities for the future following the disruption caused by Covid-19.