James Patterson has awarded 20 booksellers the Young Bookseller Special Achievement Award in recognition of their "outstanding" work.
Bestselling author Patterson announced plans for the award in March in a bid to bring attention to bookshops and to encourage young people into the industry, in association with the Booksellers Association..
The winners, all booksellers aged 25 and under, have worked in a bookshop for at least 12 months. They will each receive a prize of £500 each.Candidates were nominated by their managers or colleagues from high street bookshops across Britain and Ireland.
Booksellers including Amy Vale from Book-ish (Crickhowell, Poyws), Callum Churchill from Toppng & Company (Bath) and Charlotte Elizabeth from Blackwell’s Bookshops (Reading) are among the winners.
Tom McKnight, one of the recipients of the award from The Haslemere Bookshop, said: “This award means a massive amount to me as it offers a hopeful future for bookshops all over the UK and Ireland. I know reading will continue to inspire young minds as it always has thanks to awards like this.”
Patterson said: “I am delighted for the twenty winners who were chosen for their talent and extraordinary contribution to the bookselling industry. The passion and energy of all the young booksellers that were nominated has been overwhelming.”
Two Foyles booksellers are among the winners with Callum McAllister from Foyles in Bristol and Inga Maciulyte from Foyles Waterloo Station, London, recognised for their work.
Emily Smith, a bookseller at Waterstones (Crewe), Helen Mair from The Alligator’s Mouth (Richmond, Surrey) and Imogen Hargreaves from Mostly Books (Abingdon, Oxfordshire) also take home £500 each.
Jacob Tunks, a bookseller at Kett's Books (Wymondham, Norfolk), James Firth from The Stripey Badger (Skipton, North Yorkshire) and Meg Prince from The Ironbridge Bookshop (Telford, Shropshire) were also among the winners, alongside Miriam Mathie from The GLO Bookshop (Motherwell, North Lanarkshire).
Irish indies boast two prize winners with Dubray Books' Mia Colleran and Saoirse Behan from Woodbine Books (Kilcullen, County Kildare) recognised for their efforts with Scotland also bagging two awards with Olivia Kekewich from The Edinburgh Bookshop and Taylor McDonald from Bookpoint (Dunoon, Argyll).
Olivia Farmery from Magic Alley (Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire), Phoebe Edwards from Little Ripon Bookshop (North Yorkshire) and Sarah Gillett from East Grinstead Bookshop (West Sussex) make up the winners.
Nic Bottomley, president of the Booksellers Association, said: “The BA is in the business of celebrating and improving bookselling, and I can think of no better way to do both those things than to award outstanding young booksellers in this way. James Patterson’s generosity and vision in deciding to reward our rising young stars in the bookselling landscape is a wonderful way for us to celebrate our emerging leaders and watch their careers develop.”
This award is the latest of Patterson’s numerous financial donations to support bookshops. In the past five years, Patterson has donated £500,000 to independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland to encourage children to read. This has funded projects ranging from refurbishment and expansion of children’s sections to organising a bedtime reading project. In 2013, Patterson pledged $1million to US bookshops which funded everything from customising a school bus as a mobile bookshop to providing free books for underprivileged children.