Pat Barker, Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys, and Catherine Doyle win the Independent Bookshop Week Book Awards 2019

Pat Barker, Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys, and Catherine Doyle win the Independent Bookshop Week Book Awards 2019

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The Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Book Awards have today revealed the 2019 winners, as voted for by independent booksellers and to celebrate IndependentBookshop Week (15 – 22 June).

Winning in the Adult category is Pat Barker with The Silence of the Girls (Penguin), a re-telling of the Trojan War from the perspective of the slave girl Briseis. Catherine Doyle’s The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury), her debut Middle Grade novel, won in the Children’s category, while the winner of the Picture Book category is If All the World Were… (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Allison Colpoys.

Chosen by a judging panel of independent booksellers, authors and industry influencers, the IBW Awards winners will be presented with their awards in their local independent bookshop. In addition, the winning authors will be doing events during Independent Bookshop Week, including:

  • Pat Barker will do a signing on Monday 17th June at Forum Books (Newcastle) with Forum Books from 6.30pm
  • Catherine Doyle is doing school events with Nomad Books (Fulham, London) on Wednesday 19th June at 4pm and The Bookcase (Chiswick) on Thursday 20th June

Pat Barker, author of The Silence of the Girls and winner of the Adult Category, said: “I am absolutely delighted to win the IBW Book Award. I have always loved the special atmosphere in independent bookshops and admired the enthusiasm and dedication that goes into running them. Everything that’s good and hopeful about the book trade is in those shops so receiving this award gives me particular pleasure.”

Catherine Doyleauthor of The Storm Keeper’s Island and winner of the Children’s Category, said: “Independent bookshops occupy a vital and special place in our culture. They are treasure troves, unique and vibrant and underpinned, always, by a boundless passion for stories that is both infectious and inviting. I feel particularly lucky that The Storm Keeper’s Island has been so wonderfully embraced by independent bookshops this past year and look forward to visiting even more in the months ahead!”

Joseph Coelho, author of If All the World Were… and winner of the Picture Book Category, said: “Knowing the passion and drive that Independent Bookshops demonstrate, it is a complete honour to have won the Independent Book Week Book Award with mine and Allison Colpoys If All The World Were… Coming across an Independent Bookshop when visiting a new town or city is always like finding hidden treasure and I’m delighted that our book has been given a little sparkle from our treasury of delightful, exemplary, joyous book stores.”

Allison Colpoys, illustrator of If All the World Were… and winner of the Picture Book Category, said: “What an honour, a thrill and a surprise to receive the IBW Award. I am so grateful for the support of the booksellers who have put for If All the World Were… into the hands and hearts of children and families just when they have needed it. The existence of independent bookstores is so integral to the development of a child’s imagination and their love of reading, and we are lucky to have such a passionate advocate for children’s literature.”

Vanessa Lewis (The Book Nook, Hove), Chair of Judges for the Children’s Categories, said: “The Storm Keeper’s Island is compelling story telling that sweeps you away on a magical adventure. The judging panel selected it because it celebrates the power of courage and the importance of believing in yourself, and will inspire children to set off on their own journeys of discovery. If All The World Were… is the perfect book to help young children manage bereavement with hope and creativity. The judges felt that the artwork beautifully complemented the lyrical text and that it is a book readers will want to revisit time and time again.

Nic Bottomley (Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights), Chair of Judges for the Adult category, said: “Amongst our judges we had a self-confessed “classics nerd” and someone is rarely drawn to the classics at all. It was striking, and important to us in our deliberations, that both of those judges were absolutely captivated by The Silence of the Girls. And the rest of us were equally blown away – by its fresh perspective on a well-known narrative, by its flashes of humour despite the relentless adversity and by its vivid exploration of the human spirit’s capacity to endure. Barker has breathed new life and given new direction to a classic and brutal tale and has done so with her hallmark combination of exquisite prose and a refreshing lightness of touch.”

For more information about the Independent Book Awards and previous winners, please visit www.indiebookshopweek.org.uk/IBWBookAward.

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