Everything you need to know about the Booker Prize 2023 shortlist
As the Booker Prize 2023 shortlist is announced, we’ve pulled together the most interesting facts and trends that have emerged in this year’s selection
Aimée Felone and Meera Ghanshamdas at Round Table Books in Brixton, London
This prize season, we’re celebrating indie booksellers across the UK and Ireland. Here, we reveal the winning bookshops of our competition
At the Booker Prize Foundation, our ambition is to help readers discover their next great book – an aim which also lies at the heart of independent bookselling and bookshops. That’s why, this Booker Prize season, we launched the inaugural Booker Prize Indie Bookshop Spotlight, a competition which invited independent bookshops from across the UK and Ireland to celebrate this year’s Booker Prize shortlist along with us.
To enter, each store had to assemble in-store displays of the nominated titles and posting images of their activity on their social media channels. Six stores would be chosen as winners, with one winner then selected at random to receive two tickets to the Booker Prize 2023 award ceremony and dinner on November 26 at Old Billingsgate in London.
Entries came from the length and breadth of the country, all of which impressed us both with the creativity and originality of their displays, and the passion and dedication of the booksellers while hand-selling the Booker Prize 2023 nominated books to their customers.
The six winning bookshops of The Booker Prize Indie Bookshop Spotlight competition are Little Acorns Bookstore, Derry, Londonderry; The Bookshop, Mold, Flintshire; Round Table Books, Brixton, London; The Bookmark, Grantown-on-Spey, Moray; Westwood Books, Sedbergh, Cumbria; Winstone’s Hunting Raven Books, Frome, Somerset.
The overall winner of the competition, who has won tickets to attend this year’s ceremony is The Bookshop Mold. We look forward to hosting their team on Sunday November 26.
You can also read our interviews with each of the shops and their booksellers, where we hear more from them about their shops and love of bookselling. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to visit a local shop in your community, and discover a new favourite while there
Little Acorns Bookstore is the largest independent bookstore in the Northwest of Ireland. Based in Derry, Little Acorns stocks both new and second-hand books of all genres and subjects, while also specialising in Irish-related subjects; including its history, culture, authors and publishers. The shop, which some customers have likened to a ‘treasure trove’, also uniquely houses a collection of antique typewriters. Collected by its owner since 1977, the team intend to match the typewriters to those used by world-renowned authors such as Ernest Hemingway Booker or Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood.
A poetic literary look #BookerPrize2023 window & in-store amore 💚📚— Little Acorns Bookstore (@LittleAcornsBks) October 6, 2023
‘With a Study For Obedience
(If I Survive You in This Other Eden),
The Bee Sting shall sing
A Prophet Song on the Western Lane…’
Winner revealed 26 Nov 🖋️📜 pic.twitter.com/j8JIqcVoPX
Located in the historic market town of Mold in North East Wales, The Bookshop began life in 1981 as a tiny shop busting with books, which quickly outgrew its original premises and moved to a bigger shop space in 1993 on the Upper High Street. The shop has a legion of loyal customers, many of whom have visited since their childhoods and now bring their own children to the shop to discover their next read. It prides itself on its place in the community and regularly hosts events, such as food tastings alongside newly released cookbooks, and ‘Murder in the Library evenings’ featuring popular crime writers.
Round Table Books began as a simple pop-up (as part of Knights Of, the publisher) in 2018 and became a permanent space in Brixton, London, in 2019. Selling both adults’ and children’s books, Round Table are an inclusion-led bookshop that aims to celebrate underrepresented authors, writers and illustrators, documenting LGBTQIA+, and disabled peoples’ experiences. They curate and stock books from a wide array of publishers and often host author-led events in the space.
Here’s our display for @TheBookerPrizes 2023 shortlist! Congratulations to these authors. We’re wishing them the very best!✨— Round Table Books CIC (@BooksRound) October 10, 2023
Books featured are:
Western Lane by Chetna Maroo
If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
This Other Eden by Paul Harding #BookerPrize2023 pic.twitter.com/K7V0BJWJth
Bordered by the Cairngorm Mountains in the Highlands of Scotland, The Bookmark lies in Grantown-on-Spey, and has been owned and managed by Marjory Marshall since 2007, on a spot where there has been a bookshop for several decades. The shop is bursting with an eclectic range of titles, including bestsellers, Scottish interest, and a large children’s section. The Bookmark hosts its own crime festival called ‘Dark Nights, Dark Deeds… Death in Grantown’ which brings Scottish crime authors to the town, and enjoys celebrating events such as World Book Day along with the local community.
Westwood Books is the largest bookshop in the Yorkshire Dales. It is a family-run bookshop in Sedbergh, Cumbria, which is also England’s official book town. Stocking a whopping 80,000+ books across two floors, the shop has everything from newly published books to secondhand, rare and specialist antiquarian titles. The building had a long community history, as was previously used as a factory, a cinema and village hall. In 2009 the shop was named as one of The Guardian’s Top Ten Secondhand Bookshops, and travel author Bill Bryson has also given it a seal of approval, describing it as ‘large and excellent’.
Nestled down a cobbled medieval street in Frome, Somerset, lies Winstone’s Hunting Raven Books, who describe themselves as a ‘quirky and fiercely independent bookshop on the only street in England to have a stream running down the middle of it’. The bookshop is deeply rooted in the community, running its own in-store book club. The team is hugely passionate about the campaigns they run in-store, which has previously seen them raise awareness for local causes, and donate over 1300 of Marcus Rashford’s books to children who would otherwise not have access to books.
We’ve been really enjoying selling the shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize. Tina’s personal favourite is Prophet Song (but don’t let that sway you!). Who will your winner be? Tell us using #BookerPrize2023 pic.twitter.com/DmTh3kRo3F— Winstone’s Hunting Raven Books (@HuntingRavenBks) October 9, 2023