The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

BA Advisory Council

The BA's membership is represented by an Advisory Council of booksellers, who discuss and advise the BA on policy issues that affect all BA members. It meets at least three times a year and aims to reflect the demographic balance of the membership. Council Members usually serve no more than two three-year terms. The BA Officers (BA President and Vice Presidents) also sit on the BA Divisional and BA Group Boards.

Responsibilities of the Advisory Council
  • Above all, to advise the BA Divisional Board as to how to help members of all types and sizes to prosper in the business of bookselling, especially in strategic matters. 
  • To consider relevant reports from the BA Advisory Groups, BA Working Groups and Committees, outside committees and BA Branches, especially when strategic or policy matters might be 
  •    involved. 
  • To set up as appears necessary Working Groups for temporary issues and Advisory Groups for ongoing issues.

To always bear in mind that communication with members should be two way: not only do members need to hear from the Association; they also need to know that the Association will give them      a voice. Even when it is not possible for the BA to have a unanimous view on a matter affecting members differently, views should be expressed by the BA on behalf of all members.  

The Composition of the Advisory Council
The Advisory Council consists of the Officers and not fewer than 10 and not usually more than 20 members, nominated with regard to geography, size of business, type of business and the BA Group’s Diversity and Inclusiveness policy.

Members of the Council would not normally serve more than two three-year consecutive terms.

The Role of a Council Member
We are proud to have a diverse membership. The BA, and therefore its Council, represents many types of different businesses, large, small, academic, general, specialist, traditional, non-traditional, retail and wholesale, covering the United Kingdom & Ireland.

Members of the Council bring their own business experience and insights that inform their views to the role, and are tasked with making the best policy decisions on behalf of the membership as a whole, not primarily according to what might be best for a Council member’s own business.  

Each Council member should:
  •   dedicate sufficient time to scrutinising the Council briefing papers that are circulated by email well ahead of the meetings;
  •   be prepared to take part in discussions both during Council meetings and, on occasion, by email;
  •   be ready to provide guidance on new initiatives and help the Council focus on key issues;
  •   be committed to the BA and the book trade;
  •   be willing to devote the necessary time and effort to effectively carry out their duties as a Council member;
  •   be prepared to demonstrate strategic vision;
  •   have good, independent judgement and a willingness to speak their mind;
  •   have an ability to think creatively;
  •   have the ability to work effectively as a member of a team;
  •   possess Nolan’s seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
The Council representatives are listed below and are happy to hear from any BA members. If you want a particular issue brought to the notice of a Council meeting, do email Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the Booksellers Association, who would be happy to hear from you.


BA Officers

Fleur Sinclair (2024-2026)

I bought Sevenoaks Bookshop (est. 1948) since November 2015, purchasing the shop after working there part time and running the bookshop writers’ group.

Before bookselling, I trained in photography and worked in the fashion industry as a photographers’ agent.


Debbie James

Vice President
Kibworth Books
Debbie opened Kibworth Books in 2009 after a career in music as an orchestral percussionist. In 2016, the bookshop doubled in size into a second floor and in February 2022, Debbie and her team moved into a space three times as big again. She plans to re-open the old shop as a second bookshop, specialising in rare and collectable books.

Debbie’s key areas of interest in the book industry are wellbeing and sustainable bookselling and as such, she is a keen supporter of the BA’s group coaching project and also sits on their Green Bookselling Task Force.


Mairi Oliver

Vice President
Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop
Mairi runs Lighthouse: Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop, which won Scottish Bookshop of the Year 2019 at the Nibbies. She has been in the book trade over a decade; having worked as a bookseller at Constant Reader in Sydney and Topping & Company Booksellers in St Andrews, she opened Lighthouse as a queer, feminist, anti-racist community bookshop in 2017.

Lighthouse, which is a reincarnation of the radical Word Power Bookshop that first opened in 1994, continues to host and organise Edinburgh's annual Book Fringe and Radical Book Fair.


BA Advisory Council Members

Dawn Behan (2024-2030)

Woodbine Books
Dawn opened Woodbine Books in 2016, having previously worked as a software developer.  She believes that bookshops should be a social hub within their communities.  She has tried to create this in Kilcullen by running a creative writing group, book clubs for adults and children, and regular events throughout the year.  She loves the sense of accomplishment that comes from finding the perfect book for a reader.


Emma Corfield-Walters (2019-2025)

Emma has owned Book-ish in the market town of Crickhowell, Mid Wales for nine years. Previously the owner of a Building Surveying company in Brighton, which she sold in 2010 to pursue her childhood dream of opening a bookshop. Emma is passionate about High Street rejuvenation, bookshops as community spaces and she is the co-director of Crickhowell Literary festival.


Angie Crawford (2024-2030)

Angie Crawford is part of the non-fiction buying team at Waterstones. She has worked as a bookseller for 25 years at Dillons, Waterstones & Ottakar’s in a variety of roles including children’s buying and Scottish buying. She is passionate about making reading accessible to everyone through curating beautiful bookshops and author events in local communities.

Richard Drake (2020-2026)

Drake the Bookshop
Richard Drake is a maths and PE teacher turned bookshop owner and has been running DRAKE -The Bookshop in Stockton since September 2015 alongside his partner Melanie and their son, Matthew. 

Starting out in a space just 12 metres square, the bookshop is a driving force on all things Indie in Stockton, with a special focus on engaging with the community and schools in some of the most deprived parts of the country. 

Caoilfhionn Fay (2024-2030)


Caoilfhionn has worked in bookselling for 15 years, across various roles in Eason and Dubray, having started out as a Christmas temp in Eason O’Connell Street.  She is currently the Books Senior Buyer at Eason, having recently moved on from her role as Dubray Books Category Manager, where she contributed hugely to the growth of the business over the last 9 years. She loves being surrounded by books all day and can’t imagine working in any other industry. Her favourite part of the job is curating interesting collections of books, enabling customers to discover that one book they didn’t even know they needed.


Jake Franklin (2023-2029)

National Theatre Bookshop


Meera Ghanshamdas (2023-29)

Round Table Books CIC
Meera Ghanshamdas is co-Director of Round Table Books CIC, a Community Interest Company, based in Brixton that specialises in championing books from experiences currently under-represented in the book industry.  She is actively working to make the industry a more inclusive space. Meera was born in Hong Kong and has lived in the Philippines, South Africa and India before settling in London.

Adam Hewson (2019-2025)

Adam is a lifelong bookseller, in the 1980s managing an independent in Bath, in the 1990s with Waterstones, first in the shops, then at Head Office, in the 2000s managing shops across Books etc., part of Borders, until they closed down in 2010. 

Adam is Head of Book Buying at the RHS and in 2016 set up Hewson Books (in Kew and Sheen).

Adam loves to share his bookselling knowledge and skills and was involved in training managers at Waterstones and Books etc. He currently focuses on non-book sales, window displays and by supporting BIC and challenging the supply chain.


Polly Jaffé (2024-2030)

Jaffé & Neale Bookshop & Cafe
Having chosen travel instead of University, I started my Bookselling career with Sherratt & Hughes in Notting Hill Gate and went on to work for Tim Waterstone and also WH Smith. Becoming an Indie Bookseller in 2001, winning Independent Bookshop of the Year with Jaffé & Neale Bookshop & Café in 2007. 
For me running a bookshop is understanding how we can survive and thrive on the High Street. Being imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, excellent at customer service and a good dose of grit too, is a given. I try to demonstrate that value isn’t just about saving a few pennies. Jaffé & Neale is delighted to be at the centre of our community, and I am proud to be a Trustee of our Lido ( it does mean I have a beautiful pool to swim in too). 


Dan Johns (2019-2025)

Dan has been around bookselling his whole life, as part of Mabecron Books, a family business incorporating three shops, Falmouth Bookseller, St Ives Bookseller and Padstow Bookseller, which Dan manages.

Tracy Kenny (2023-2029)

Ketts Books
In 2013 Tracy Kenny co-founded Kett's Books, an independent community bookshop in Wymondham in Norfolk. The not-for-profit bookshop offers volunteering opportunities to a diverse mix of people across generations, who grow and pass the benefit on to our customers, building a strong and vibrant community. Tracy previously worked in brand storytelling, as well as in culture development and customer experience at Aviva.


Jenni Morton (to 2026)

John Smith & Son
Jenni has worked at JS Group since 2012 and has moved from bookshop management to student engagement and recently taking over as Senior Book Product and Content Manager.  Jenni also runs JS Group’s event programme - Boost Your Skills Events.  She is passionate about giving students access free events to support them with study skills, employability and wellbeing.


Marie Moser (2020-2026)

The Edinburgh Bookshop
Marie took over The Edinburgh Bookshop in 2012, after a 20-year career in retail marketing.  The shop was crowned UK Children’s Bookseller of the Year in 2014 and has won the Scottish Bookshop of the year four times.  Like many independent bookshops. the Edinburgh Bookshop is a local cultural and community hub, offering an environment where everyone is welcome.

We are particularly passionate about Children's Bookselling and the importance of reading for pleasure.

Sheryl Shurville (2021-2027)

Chorleywood Bookshop
My first career was in nursing and midwifery which I did for over 20 years and my qualification for joining the Chorleywood Bookshop was my love of reading and books.  Chorleywood Bookshop will be 50 years old in 2023, and it has been a joy to be part of it for the last 19 years.

In 2010 we bought the Gerrards Cross Bookshop, both businesses continue to go from strength to strength and are at the heart of their communities.  I founded the Chorleywood Literary Festival in 2006 and we now run events all year round which continue to be very popular.  We work closely with schools encouraging reading and literacy with our extensive schools programme. I am very proud of our charity work particularly our Gift a Book Scheme.I am so lucky, I love what I do and the people I meet.


Will Smith (2022-2028)

Sam Read Bookseller, Grasmere
Will Smith is a freelance writer, academic and bookseller who has worked at Grasmere’s Sam Read Bookseller since 2012. He previously worked at Blackwell’s Nottingham Portland and Ottakar’s in Bury St. Edmunds. 

He has written on prize culture and place in literature and lectured in publishing, North American literature and Canadian studies at a number of British universities. He holds a PhD in Canadian Literature from the University of Nottingham.

Will currently reviews books for The Bookseller, Cumbria Life and BBC Radio Cumbria.


Lucy Swinburn (2021-2027)

Head of Books, WHSmith
Lucy joined WHSmith in 2005 and has a wealth of experience working across many categories, spending much of her career at the retailer sourcing and developing their Own Brand Stationery ranges. In 2015 Lucy assumed responsibility for the Children’s Books category and in 2019 became Head of Books: heading up the Buying team and setting the strategy behind WHSmith’s successful Books proposition covering: the ever popular Richard and Judy Bookclub, Adult Fiction, Adult Non Fiction, Children’s Books, special buys and Education.

As a mother to two young children, Lucy’s passion firmly sits within Children’s literacy: she lives and breathes the impact of reading with and encouraging children to enter the exciting world of books. One of the highlights of this year has been driving literacy awareness to the nation through a campaign in partnership with Marcus Rashford, PanMacmillan and the National Literacy Trust.


Yahya Thadha (2020-2026)

Yahya has been in the book industry for over ten years, having grown his small family run business from a small bookshop to a wholesaler and publisher; he is also an author.
Currently the business specialises in books box gift sets with a focus online and stocks the largest range of slipcase boxset collection in the UK.  With experience of running an online book club Yahya has established himself with online  brands on
Yahya has volunteered on various community and charity boards and in 2000, along with the community  organisation that he helped to set up, received the Queen’s Jubilee award for outstanding community contribution and self sustainability.

Nigel Wyman

Co-opted by the BA Council
I have been a member of the BA Council for nearly four years and in that time I am have been amazed at how much work the Council puts into supporting the wider book community.   This varied and historic industry we work in keeps me hooked and intrigued. Bookselling is in a good place right now and that is down to the hard work all within this industry put in. 

This has resonated recently with the economic reports showing how much income bookselling brings to the UK and Ireland!  I am proud to be part of this great community.