Independent bookshops are being offered the chance to win a visit from Philip Pullman during Independent Bookshop Week in June, ahead of the paperback publication of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One in the autumn.
Bookshops can pitch for the visit online by outlining details of what kind of event they would host, including details of the format, look and desired date. Pullman will visit three winning bookshops, which will also each receive £300 to help fund their events.
In another online competition, 300 bookshops will be offered a ‘Philip Pullman Collection’, containing the seven titles that span the author's body of work: the three volumes of His Dark Materials, La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust, Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling, Clockwork and The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, to give to their customers in a prize.
“There’s nowhere more delightful to visit than a local bookshop," said Pullman. "I hope people will enjoy all the wonderful authors and illustrators whose books they’ll see in the windows and find on the tables during Independent Bookshop Week.”
The prizes are being organised by Pullman’s publishers David Fickling Books and Penguin Random House Children’s, which published La Belle Sauvage, and Scholastic, which released the His Dark Materials trilogy.
Separately, Penguin Random House Children’s will release refreshed editions of six of Pullman’s fairytales with artwork by Peter Bailey - Clockwork, I Was a Rat!, The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, The Scarecrow and His Servant, Count Karlstein and Spring-Heeled Jack - on 7th June.
The paperback of The British Book Awards-shortlisted La Belle Sauvage will then hit bookshelves on 6th September, with new, full-page illustrations by the illustrator Chris Wormell, and a month later the book will feature on the children’s tote bag for Books Are My Bag 2018.
Meryl Halls, m.d. of the Booksellers Association, said: “We are thrilled to see such a creative suite of activity around Philip Pullman from David Fickling Books, Penguin Random House Children’s and Scholastic for Independent Bookshop Week this year – as we all know, Philip coined the term ‘lantern-bearers of civilisation’ for independent bookshops, and I am sure our indie booksellers will be excited at the opportunity to engage their customers in their love for The Book of Dust and Philips’s other works with the Philip Pullman Collection, and the possibility of Philip visiting three indies bookshops for events.”
Ahead of the release of the hardback edition of La Belle Sauvage last year, indie bookshop owners had spoken of their frustration over the deep discounting of the title by other retailers.