The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited
The Sceptre Bookshop Award recognises that bookshops are much more than a retail space, often functioning as valuable community hubs that encourage personal connection and create vital local networks that greatly enrich the lives of the people they serve. The award was created to celebrate the publication of Noreena Hertz’s acclaimed The Lonely Century: Coming Together in a World that's Pulling Apart, published by Sceptre in September 2020.

Hachette UK and the Booksellers Association revealed the winners of the £5,000 Sceptre Bookshop Award ahead of Bookshop Day 2020 to three bookshops that make an outstanding contribution to their community. The first prize of £2,500 and the opportunity to host an event with author Noreena Hertz, was awarded to Booka Bookshop in Shropshire. The two runner-up prizes of £1,250 each went to Kett's Books in Norfolk and Winstone Hunting Raven in Somerset.
Noreena Hertz, author of The Lonely Century and chair of the Sceptre and Booksellers Association judging panel, said: “We were inspired by all the bookshops that entered the Sceptre Bookshop Award and choosing winners amongst them was extremely challenging. Each deserves recognition for the important work they play in their communities. But with inclusivity, outreach and a commitment to the broader community as primary criteria – Booka, Ketts and Winstone Hunting Raven particularly stood out. Ketts was notable for not only serving the community so comprehensively with initiatives like their ‘One Community One Book’ project and ‘Sofa Sessions’ but also for literally being of the community – the bookshop is run primarily by volunteers. Winstone Hunting Raven stood out for explicitly seeking to engage with those who feel most isolated in their community with their important and pioneering ‘Books against Loneliness’ Campaign and their commitment to ensuring that their bookshop is ‘a place people can come and feel safe, welcome, listened to and heard’. And the winner, Booka, inspired us by their commitment to making their bookshop a welcoming space for everyone, including those who traditionally might not visit a bookshop or feel comfortable lingering in one. We were particularly struck by their creativity in reaching and engaging different audiences – as demonstrated by an impressive array of unusual and inspiring workshops, programming and collaborations, and also by their pledge to actively try to support local suppliers and shops, in doing so recognising the essential role local shops play in nurturing and anchoring their community.”

The Sceptre Bookshop Award 2020 shortlisted bookshops:

Booka Bookshop, Shropshire
Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Norwich
Burley Fisher, Hackney, East London
Category Is Books, Glasgow    Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Housmans Bookshop, Caledonian Road, North London
Kett's Books, Wymondham, Norfolk
Winstone's Hunting Raven, Frome, Somerset