Louisa Cameron has been named this year’s winner of The O’Brien Press Bookseller of the Year Award, in recognition of her contribution to the book trade.
Cameron, owner of Raven Books in Dublin, is the 27th recipient of the award, which is presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement or an invaluable contribution to the book trade by an individual bookseller. Winners are presented with The Elements (a bronze trophy sculpted by one of Ireland's leading sculptors, Rowan Gillespie) and a framed commemorative certificate.
Originally from Monkstown, Cameron started Raven Books as a tiny shop on Carysfort Avenue in Blackrock, Co Dublin, in 2008. She then moved the shop to its current location on Blackrock’s Main Street, and this year celebrated her 10-year anniversary there. The shop stocks a range of titles, including both new and secondhand books.
Ivan O’Brien, m.d. of The O’Brien Press, said: “In a hugely challenging year for everybody, books have been hugely important for so many people. With the rules on opening and collection regularly changing, ensuring that people knew they could get books locally was vital. Actually getting the right books to customers has demanded huge energy and innovation. So many great booksellers looked after their community amazingly well, and nobody better than Louisa Cameron at Raven Books. Her famous bicycle clocked up many miles, and her recommendations and customer support left many smiling faces of all ages. She is a worthy winner of Bookseller of the Year.”
Commenting on her win, Cameron said: “Receiving this award would have meant a great deal to me in a normal year; given the year we have all just been through, it is hard to articulate just how appreciative I am to be given this honour. I feel very thankful that every single day of the pandemic I have had a clear sense of purpose through my work, knowing that getting books into the hands of readers helps make their days that bit brighter.
"All the hard work and long hours during the lockdowns were worth it to hear the cries of joy from kids seeing the latest title in their favourite series, the gratitude from distant family members reassured that their loved ones would receive birthday presents, the happiness of cocooners able to travel the world without leaving the safety of their homes. To have that recognised and celebrated by my peers is the icing on the cake. With this award, I feel profoundly grateful to have become a small part of the flourishing Irish literary tradition, and at a time when it has become abundantly clear that books are essential.”
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