The Bookshop, Kibworth in Leicester has been judged the Vintage Independent Bookshop of the Year 2015. The award was announced at the 2016 Vintage Showcase and Independent Booksellers’ Conference held at the Penguin Random House Strand office yesterday (October 19th).
The £1,000 award was presented to the shop’s manager, Debbie James, by author Jeanette Winterson.
(From left) Richard Cable and Jeanette Winterson present Debbie James from The Bookshop, Kibworth, with her prize.
The competition, now in its fifth year, was launched by Penguin Random House division Vintage as a way of celebrating independent bookshops throughout the country and the vital role they play in the book industry and goes to the shop that, in the judges’ opinion, has promoted Vintage Books with the most creativity and passion.
The winning shop impressed the judges for its sustained and varied programme of activity throughout the summer, including a "Reading the World" promotion of Vintage titles, work with five different bookclubs, specially designed POS and extensive coverage online and on social media. Runners-up were Barnes Bookshop in London (second prize) and Hungerford Bookshop (third prize).
James said: "We’ve only been open since 2009 but our Penguin Random House rep, Peter Lucas, has been encouraging me to enter for a couple of years. We went all out this year with a Vintage-themed summer reading programme. We featured 16 Vintage titles from 16 countries so whenever someone told us they were looking for summer reading we could recommend a book based on where they were going. I’ve also been selecting Vintage titles throughout the year for the five book clubs we run. It has really raised the profile of Vintage and all the book club members are on tenterhooks waiting to hear if we’ve won!"
Kate Gunning, PRH's partnership manager for independent retailers and one of the judges, said: "I always love judging this award and seeing the bold and inventive ways in which independent bookshops rise to the challenge every year. Once again, we had a superb response: lots of entries, and of a very high standard. Many thanks from everyone at Vintage to all the brilliant indies that entered, and our warmest congratulations to Kibworth, Barnes and Hungerford."
The presentation came amid speeches from Winterson, and fellow author Mark Haddon, as well as debut authors Emma Cline and Olympic gold medal-winning runner Jo Pavey, in anticipation of Vintage's 2016 offering. Pavey's autobiography This Mum Runs will be out in March 2016 and Cline's first novel The Girls in June.
Winterson spoke of art living in "a continual present", as she explained the process of rewriting Shakespeare's "A Winters Tale" for her book The Gap of Time (Hogath Shakespeare), just published. "The point of art is that it goes on," she said. "We go to Shakespeare to find out about ourselves, those truths that go on, showing that human condition is still the same."