The shortlist for the first Sceptre Bookshop Award shortlist has been revealed, featuring independent retailers across the UK.
Launched by the Booksellers Association and Hachette UK, the award recognises shops that "are much more than a retail space, often functioning as valuable community hubs that encourage personal connection and create vital local networks that greatly enrich the lives of the people they serve".
The award has been created to mark publication of Noreena Hertz's The Lonely Century: Coming Together in a World that's Pulling Apart, which is published by Sceptre today (10th September). Criteria for the award include community engagement, work with schools, charities and other local bodies, local initiatives and events.
The eight-strong shortlist is made up of Booka Bookshop in Shropshire; Bookbugs and Dragon Tales in Norwich; Burley Fisher in Hackney, east London; Category Is Books in Glasgow; Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham; Housmans Bookshop in Caledonian Road, north London; Kett's Books in Wymondham, Norfolk; and Winstone's Hunting Raven in Frome, Somerset.
A prize fund of £5,000 will be split between three winning bookshops, with a first prize of £2,500, and two runner-up prizes of £1,250 each. The winning bookshop will also be given the opportunity to host an event with Noreena Hertz. All high street bookshops in the UK and Ireland are eligible.
Meryl Halls, m.d of the BA, said: “We are delighted to see the Sceptre Bookshop Award come to fruition with such a strong shortlist of bookshops which are really extending themselves to be outstanding bookshops in their own communities. Though the evidence for all the bookshops that applied was pre-Covid, we know that the energy and innovation amongst booksellers is undimmed by the pandemic and we remain proud and inspired by what all these brilliant bookshops do and how hard they work.
"The award was announced by Noreena Hertz at last year’s BA Conference, which adds a special poignancy to the prize, as we are unable to gather this year – and we are so grateful to Noreena and to Sceptre for their ongoing support for indies that are making a difference to their communities in the most challenging circumstances.”
Juliet Brooke, Sceptre associate publisher, added: “Community is perhaps an over-used word when we talk about bookshop activity on local high streets but it’s a crucial part of what bookshops do – place-making, creating social cohesion and improving the cultural and events landscape of their towns and cities.”
Winners will be announced ahead of Bookshop Day on 3rd October.
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