The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Hachette UK and the Booksellers Association launch new Sceptre Bookshop Award

Hachette UK and the Booksellers Association have launched a new £5000 Sceptre Bookshop Award to celebrate the bookshops in the UK and Ireland that make an outstanding contribution to their community. 

The award has been created in honour of a forthcoming book by Noreena Hertz on the contemporary loneliness crisis called The Lonely Century, to be published by Sceptre in May 2020. Hertz officially launched the award during her Keynote Address at the Booksellers’ Association Conference at Aston University in Birmingham today. 

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. 

A prize fund totalling £5000 will be split between three winning bookshops, with a first prize of £2,500, and two runner-up prizes of £1,250 each. The winning bookshop will also be given the opportunity to host an event with Noreena Hertz as part of a speaker tour for The Lonely Century. All high street bookshops in the UK and Ireland are eligible.
Bookshops will be invited to nominate themselves from the BA’s annual ‘Bookshop Day’ on 5th October 2019, with the call-out led from the @booksaremybag account. Criteria will include community engagement, work with schools, charities and other local bodies, local initiatives and events – especially those working towards creating connections, community and collaborations.  Hachette and the BA see the Sceptre Bookshop Award as a crucial part of the wider inclusion agenda for the industry, shining a light on the invaluable work done by bookshops to counter loneliness and create connections.
The deadline for nominations for the Sceptre Bookshop Award is 28th February 2020. Noreena Hertz will chair the judging panel to select a shortlist of bookshops, which will be put to the public vote. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Sceptre offices at Carmelite House, London in May 2020, to coincide with the publication month for The Lonely Century. 

The Lonely Century author Noreena Hertz said: “Bookshops nourish the soul and spirit of communities across the globe. In these times of increasing isolation, atomisation and disconnection, this is more important than ever. I am honoured that Sceptre, inspired by my thinking and research, have decided to launch this important award that will celebrate the critical role so many bookshops play in bringing us together.”
Hachette UK CEO David Shelley said: “A good bookshop is always at the heart of its community, helping readers discover new writers, meet like-minded people and be inspired by visiting authors. Reading transforms lives and creates connections between people irrespective of their backgrounds, and it all begins in libraries and bookshops. In addition to its support of Independent Booksellers week, Hachette is delighted to sponsor this new award to recognise and enhance the good work done by bookshops all over the country.”

President of the Booksellers Association Nic Bottomley said: “Community is perhaps an over-used word when we talk about bookshop activity on local high streets but it’s a crucial part of what bookshops do – place-making, creating social cohesion and improving the cultural and events landscape of their towns and cities. So, we are thrilled to welcome this new award from Noreena and Hachette to acknowledge and reward bookshops who are the most active and effective at this activity. We also look forward to engaging book-loving consumers in the search for the UK’s best community-engaged bookshop.”
Full details will be sent out to all BA members in the days following the BA Conference (Aston University, 8-10 September) and will be available here.