Amor Towles, Geraldine McCaughrean, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton have been named the winners of the Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Book Awards.
As voted for by local independent bookshops and judged by a panel of authors, booksellers and journalists, the three winners are Towles for A Gentleman in Moscow (Windmill) in the Adult category, which tells the story of a Russian aristocrat living under house arrest in a luxury hotel for 30 years; McCaughrean for Where the World Ends (Walker Books), the story of a group of men and boys abandoned on a remote sea stack in 1727, in Children’s; and Davies and Sutton for Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth (Usborne), about the natural world, in Picture Books.
The winners will be presented with their awards in their local independent bookshop and all bookshops participating in IBW will be encouraged to showcase their work.
Towles, from the US, said: "For a book to find its readership, it must first spark the interest of some initial reader who out of enthusiasm, whimsy, or compassion, feels compelled to pass the book along to a like-minded reader who, some days hence, will pass this back along to another. More often than not, this magical chain reaction begins with a reader who is in the employ of an independent bookstore. That is why I am so deeply honoured by this award - and why, whenever I prepare to drink from a glass of wine, I raise it first to the booksellers of the world.”
Winner of the Children’s category, McCaughrean said: “And I thought June was lovely enough already! What a thrill. To launch Where the World Ends, I was driven round various Scottish independents and was taken aback by the warm welcome it had been given. ‘But then I suppose it is a book about Scotland,’ I thought. Now this! A vote of confidence from indies all over! I couldn’t be more pleased or honoured. Goodness, if I worked as hard a most booksellers, I would have to turn out six books a year, grow and fell the trees to make the paper, print, bind and illustrate them all while riding a unicycle and herding kangaroos into fourth‐floor accommodation. Thank you to everyone who afforded my book space in a crowded book world.”
McCaughrean will be presented with her award at The Hungerford Bookshop, Hungerford.
Davies and Sutton, winners of the Picture Book category, added: “We are thrilled that Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth has won the picture book category of the IBW Book Award! It’s so important to us that Independent Bookshops are supportive of our work and we appreciate everything they do to help build reading communities in their local areas. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everybody that helped us create Lots and who continue to help it flourish.”
This year the IBW Book Award judging panels was chaired by former Booksellers Association (BA) president, Rosamund de la Hey and current BA President Nic Bottomley, and included author Joanna Cannon; Debbie James of The Kibworth Bookshop; Sandy Mahal from UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature; Will Smith of Sam Read Booksellers; author and illustrator Yasmeen Ismail; author Wei Ming Kam; Natasha Radford of Chicken & Frog Bookshop and Tony West of Alligator’s Mouth Bookshop.