Independent Bookshop Week: Final Line-up Announced
19-26 June 2021
Julia Donaldson, David Mitchell, AJ Pearce, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Tom Kerridge, Grace Dent, Lemn Sissay, Rob Biddulph, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, Libby Page, and many more to take part
New bookshops opening just in time for IBW
Stunning displays with upcycled book sculptures from local artists
National Book Tokens to give away up to £360,000 to indie customers
Virtual events, indie twinning, Harry Potter Book Night, book trails around the city, signed copies, and much more
London, Tuesday 8th June 2021: The final line-up for Independent Bookshop Week 2021 (19-26 June) has been revealed today, with hundreds of initiatives both online and in-person marking the annual celebration of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland, sponsored by Hachette.
Top L-R: Lemn Sissay, book sculpture by Emma Taylor, Libby Page
Middle L-R: The Bookery (Crediton) and Five Leaves Books (Nottingham)
Bottom L-R: Julia Donaldson, Tom Kerridge, Ingrid Persaud
Marking its 15th anniversary this year, Independent Bookshop Week invites everyone to support their local indie in any way they can – visiting the bookshop in person, buying from the bookshop’s own website or on Bookshop.org, and joining a virtual or in-store event. The week aims to celebrate the resilience and creativity demonstrated by independent booksellers over the past year, in the face of the multiple challenges posed by the pandemic.
With more indies set to take part in this year’s celebrations than ever before, two independent bookshops are opening just in time for Independent Bookshop Week:
Books and Banter, a children’s books and games shop, opened in Burton Upon Trent on Monday 31st May
Truman Books will be opening its doors in Farsley, West Leeds on Saturday 19th June, the first day of IBW
From author events up and down the country, and some in partnership with Bookshop.org, to window displays featuring spectacular book sculptures by local artists, and from early releases and signed stock to hundreds of National Book Tokens as part of the High Five for Bookshops initiative, Independent Bookshop Week will have something for everyone.
Autor Events and Activities
Confirmed author activities taking place during Independent Bookshop Week include:
Julia Donaldson will be doing a live virtual event with Wee Three Indies (The Edinburgh Bookshop, Far From the Madding Crowd and Atkinson-Pryce Books), At Home With Four Indies (Booka Bookshop, Forum Books, Linghams Bookshop, and Book-ish) and Steyning Bookshop. Tickets are £5 for the event only, or available for free with a purchase of one of the following books: The Woolly Bear Caterpillar, The Hospital Dog by or The Scarecrow's Wedding (Saturday 19 June, 10.30-11.15am)
AJ Pearce will be doing a series of bookshop virtual events to promote her new book Yours Cherfully, including Sevenoaks Bookshop in Kent (Monday 21 June, 7:30pm, tickets here) and Max Minerva’s in Bristol (Tuesday 22 June, 7pm, tickets here)
Grace Dent and Lemn Sissay, shortlisted for the Non-Fiction category of the Indie Book Awards, will be discussing their memoirs Hungry and My Name is Why in a virtual event organised by Bookshop.org and chaired by Betsy Tobin from Ink@84 in London (Thursday 24 June, 7pm, tickets available with a purchase of either book from a participating indie or from Bookshop.org)
Sarah Moss and Ingrid Persaud, shortlisted in the Indie Book Awards Fiction category, will be talking about their books Summerwater and Love After Love in an online event in partnership with Bookshop.org and chaired by Sally Pattle from Far From the Madding Crowd in Linlithgow (Tuesday 22 June, 7pm, tickets available with a purchase of either book from a participating indie or from Bookshop.org)
David Mitchell, bestselling novelist and author of Cloud Atlas, will take part in an online event to celebrate the paperback publication of Utopia Avenue at Toppings Bath (Tuesday 22 June, 7:30pm, tickets here)
Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, mother of the Kanneh-Mason musical prodigies, will be discussing her memoir House of Music, talking about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race at Seven Oaks Bookshop (Tuesday 22 June, 7:30pm, tickets here)
Tom Kerridge, one of the most loved, down-to-earth but high-flying chefs on the food scene will be in conversation with his old friend and publisher, Jon Croft, in an in-person event at Topping & Company Bath (Friday 25 June, 7:30pm, tickets here)
Jessica Love, bestselling author-illustrator of the mesmerising picture books Julian Is a Mermaid and Julian at the Wedding (shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards in the Picture Book category), will talk about her books and invite children to draw with her in a virtual event organised by Children’s Bookshop in Huddersfield (Tuesday 22 June, 2pm)
Rob Biddulph, bestselling children’s author and illustrator, will visit Chorleywood Bookshop and Gerrards Cross Bookshop to sign his books, Draw With Rob and Draw With Rob: Build A Story, plus other previous books. #DrawWithRob has been a viral phenomenon over the past year, teaching children how to draw their favourite characters from Rob’s books (Saturday 26 June, 2pm at Chorleywood and 3:30pm at Gerrards Cross). Dog Gone is shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards in the Picture Book category.
Viv Groskop will be doing a series of virtual events for the paperback release of Au Revoir, Tristesse, including at Max Minerva’s in Bristol (Thursday 24 June, 7:30pm, tickets here)
Libby Page will be touring independent bookshops (virtually) to promote her new novel The Island Home, including an event with Mostly Books in Abingdon (Wednesday 23 June, 6:30pm, tickets here)
Sharon Bennett Connolly, author of Ladies of Magna Carta and Heroines of the Medieval World, will be doing an in-person event and signing at Lindum Books in Lincoln to discuss her new book Defenders of the Norman Crown (Saturday 19 June, 7pm, tickets here)
Giles Kristian will be talking about his latest novel Camelot, where he plunges into the rich waters of the Arthurian legend, Giles Kristian a virtual event organised by Lindum Books in Lincoln (Thursday 24 June, 7pm, tickets here)
Author, oncology nurse and counsellor Janie Brown will be discussing her new book, Radical Acts of Love, in a virtual event organised by Griffin Books in Penarth (Tuesday 22 June, 8pm, ticket here)
Peter Bentley and Claire Powell, author and illustrator of The King's Birthday Suit will be doing a story-reading and a draw-along session over Zoom organised by Griffin Books in Penarth (Saturday 19 June, 11am, tickets here)
Debut Irish authors Louise Nealon and Jamie O'Connell will discuss their new novels Snowflake and Diving For Pearls in an online evening event by Griffin Books in Penarth in collaboration with the Tale of Three Indies Collective in Ireland - Maynooth Books, Woodbine Books & Antonia's Bookstore (Wednesday 23 June, 8pm, tickets here)
Sharon Bolton and Jo Spain, bestselling crime writers, will be discussing their latest books with Lisa Howells, Books Editor for Heat Magazine and Crime & Thriller judge for the 2020 British Book Awards, in a virtual event organised by Griffin Books in Penarth (Thursday 24 June, 8pm, tickets here)
Jenny Pearson, author of The Incredible Record Smashers and The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, will host an online children’s writing workshop with lots of fun activities and advice about how to be a writer, organised by Griffin Books in Penarth (Saturday 26 June, 11am, tickets here)
Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew, authors of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman, will do a Facebook Live event with Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Brentwood as a finale for IBW (Saturday 26 June, 2pm, event here)
Rosanna Ley, author of Orange Grove, a holiday romance set in sunny Seville, will be signing stock at Serendip Bookshop in Lyme Regis (Dorset), Winstone’s Books in Sidmouth (Dorset) and Archway Bookshop in Axminster (Devon) (Saturday 19 June)
Conn Iggulden, bestselling author of historical fiction, will be visiting Chorleywood Bookshop in Herts for an in-person event to promote his brand new novel, Protector (Saturday 19 June, 10:30am)
John Nichol will be launching his new book, Tornado, telling the remarkable story of the RAF Tornado force during the first Gulf War in 1991 in a virtual event by Simon and Schuster with Chiltern Bookshops. Any customer who pre-orders a signed copy will receive free access to the livestream event, a free art print and a free Father’s Day card (Tuesday 22 June, 7pm, tickets here)
Helen Cullen, one of Ireland’s finest new writers, will be visiting Chorleywood Bookshop and Gerrards Cross Bookshop to promote her latest novel, The Truth Must Dazzle, recently published in paperback (Saturday 26 June, 10am at Chorleywood and 11:30am at Gerrards Cross)
Emily Haworth-Booth and her sister Alice, co-authors on Protest! will be painting shop windows at Brick Lane Bookshop and Queens Park Books in London to celebrate IBW.
Nick Quantrill and Nick Triplow from Hull Noir will be in conversation with crime writers Liz Mistry and DL (Danny) Marshall in an in-person evening event at The Rabbit Hole in Brigg (Friday 25 June)
Julia Chapman, creator and writer of the Dales Detective Mystery series, will be doing an in-person signing at Imagined Things Bookshop in Harrogate (Tuesday 22 June)
Trevor Wood and Fiona Erskine will be in-conversation about their new novels One Way Street and Phosphate Rocks in partnership with Drake the Bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees (Sunday 20 June)
The Book Shop in Lee-on-the-Solent will host a Harry Potter Book Night event during Independent Bookshop Week. This year’s theme is Diagon Alley with two sessions, for +6 and +10 children (Thursday 24 June, 4:30pm and 6:30pm, tickets here)
The Rabbit Hole in Brigg will be hosting all-day indoors and outdoors celebrations on the last day of IBW, with readings in The Brigg Children’s Library and featuring authors including Emma Reynolds, Anna Terreros-Martin, Paul Schofield, Jose Moon, Aofie Greenham, Neil Foxley-Johnson and Catherine Scott (Saturday 26 June)
Halesworth Bookshop is planning a one-day ‘mini lit-festival’ with guests including as Richard Mabey, Wendy Holden, Phoebe Morgan and Esther Freud (Sunday 27 June)
Lauren The Books will be hosting a virtual Cosy Reading Night on YouTube (Saturday 26 June, 7pm)
Simon Savidge and Melanie Skyes will be filming their next Book Club during IBW in a London independnet bookshop, where they’ll be discussing Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards in the Fiction category
Powderham Castle and Exeter City of Literature will host a brand-new Book Market in the Castle grounds, featuring a plethora of independent booksellers from across the county, including: Archway (Axminster), Bookbag (Exeter), The Bookery (Crediton), Dogberry & Finch Books (Okehampton), Gnash Comics (Ashburton), Harbour Bookshop (Kingsbridge), Liznojan (Tiverton), The Ivybridge Bookshop (Ivybridge) and Winstone’s (Sidmouth) (Sunday 20 June, 11am to 4pm, more info here)
To make their shop even more “special” for Independent Bookshop Week, Linghams Bookshop in Heswall (Merseyside) will be partnering with a local book artist from Wirral, Julie Dodd, who creates mesmerising artworks mainly working with recycled materials, including books. Julie’s work will be displayed in the bookshop window throughout the week.
Meanwhile, book artist Emma Taylor will be collaborating with Kett’s Books, a community bookshop run by volunteers in Wymondham (Norfolk) to create a stunning sculpture to be displayed in their bookshop window during Independent Bookshop Week.
Emma’s artworks are inspired by nature and trees, which are a keen interest of the bookshop, as well as part of their their brand and their history. The shop is named after the local historical figure Robert Kett, in tribute to his leading the fight against the king's forces to defend the use of common lands. The tree where the rebels met before marching on Norwich is called 'Kett's Oak,' and an oak leaf forms part of the bookshop logo.
Independent Bookshop Week Children's Bag
Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell has designed this year’s Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag, available exclusively from indie bookshops.
Building on the success of 2020, the Indie Twinning strand of IBW is coming back for a second year, with independent publishers and independent bookshops teaming up to develop bespoke programmes of activity across the country. Confirmed twinnings include:
Atlantic Books is twinning with multi-award winning bookshop Book-ish in Crickhowell, to present themed exclusive content through Independent Bookshop Week, including a subscription box, online meditation classes, interactive online author events and giveaways. Themes include Welsh writing, non-fiction highlights, romance, and the best of the Atlantic backlist. Some of the authors featured include Helen Hoang, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Tom Vanderbilt. More info and tickets here.
Usborne Publishing will team up with Rocketship Books in Salisbury, with plans including: a “Find the Duck” trail from Sam Taplin and Simon Taylor-Kielty’s best-selling Poppy and Sam series around Salisbury, leading back to the bookshop; a window display to mark the publication of Tim Tilley’s debut novel Harklights; Rocketship Books to take over Usborne’s Instagram for a day; exclusive signed stock and bookplates; curated list, blogs and social media assets.
Comma Press will be joining forces with Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh, to launch their forthcoming anthology The American Way. They’ll be holding a virtual event featuring co-editors Ra Page and Orsola Casagrande in conversation with Lighthouse bookseller Noor Hemani (Wednesday 23 June, 7-8pm, tickets here)
Fitzcarraldo Editions will be twinned with Hastings Bookshop in East Sussex, with celebrations including; a pre-publication event of Alice Hattrick's forthcoming Ill Feelings , including an afternoon reading by Alice in the courtyard; signed stock of recent books including The Appointment by Katharina Volckmer, Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton, Batlava Lake by Adam Mars-Jones and others; a special window display of Fitzcarraldo books for the week.
Magic Cat Publishing will be working with Ivybridge Bookshop in Devon, with plans including a beautiful shop window and other activities.
Neem Tree Press will be twinning with Tales on Moon Lane (London) during Independent Bookshop Week. They will be highlighting Neem Tree Press’s Three Hares Trilogy Book 1 and Book 2 with POS (including fridge magnets!) and bookmarks to give away while stocks last (from Monday 21 June)
And Other Stories are pairing with Gloucester Road Books (Bristol), with initiatives including: a special shelf in the bookshop of And Other Stories staff picks; a gift bundle with an AOS tote bag, free books, bookmarks and more to every customer who buys an And Other Stories book from the shop; signed bookplates, and more.
Jacaranda will be teaming up with October Books (Southampton) during IBW, spotlighting a key title from their catalogue on each day of IBW. In addition, they will be giving away free mystery books with every in-store purchase with their Blind Date With A Book scheme, and will have some limited edition October Books tote bags for the final weekend.
Serpent’s Tail will be twinning with Burley Fisher (London), to celebrate their 35th and 5th birthday respectively. Initiatives include special tote bags and bookmarks; free coffees with purchases of Serpent's Tail books; a curated table with top 10 Burley FIsher picks from the Serpent Tail’s list; a Burley Fisher takeover of the publiher’s Instagram; and a special edition of the Burley Fisher podcast with Serpent Tail’s publisher Hannah Westland.
Saraband Books are twinning specific books with bookshops, and will be dedicating a day to each bookshop throughout the week.
Sam Read x Lakeland Wild by Jim Crumley: Sam Read will have signed copies of Jim Crumley’s new book, Lakeland Wild, along with special bookmarks featuring the stunning cover art by Tessa Kennedy.
Far from the Madding Crowd x How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison: the bookshop will be featuring How to Survive Everything as a Book of the Day during IBW
Fox Lane Books x Castles from Cobwebs by J.A. Mensah: Fox Lane Books have signed copies of the Desmond Elliott Prize-longlisted Castles from Cobwebs, each including a signed letter from the author.
Limestone Books x Walking the Line by Stan Abbott: Limestone Books will be hosting the (in-person outdoor) book launch for Walking the Line during IBW. The event and IBW partnership will be featured in local press. Bookends Carlisle and The Bookshop Kirkby Stephen will also have signed copies.
The Book Hive x Westering by Laurence Mitchell: The Book Hive will have signed copies of Westering: Footways and Folkways from Norfolk to the Welsh Coast.
High Five for Bookshops
High Five for Bookshops from National Book Tokens is back for a third year, celebrating independent bookshops and all who shop in them. With up to £360,000 being given away, High Five promises to give an even bigger boost to independent bookshops, and put a smile on the face of the customers who continue to support them.
The initiative gives booksellers a simple mechanic to promote Independent Bookshop Week and drive footfall to their stores; each participating shop will receive 100 flyers bearing unique codes, which customers enter online to claim a free £5/€5 National Book Tokens e-Gift card. Booksellers are encouraged to use the free gift in the way that best suits them and their customers, from a surprise for the first people through the doors during Independent Bookshop Week to a reward for members of regular book groups.
Once a customer has registered for their free National Book Tokens e-Gift card, supporting communications encourage them to spend it in the same shop where they received it – with many likely to spend much more than the value of the card. In 2020, the campaign rewarded thousands of loyal bookshop customers, driving footfall and maintaining loyalty during a challenging year.
Brian Bilston, the unofficial “Poet Laureate of Twitter” and author of Alexa, what is there to know about love (Picador) has written two exclusive poems in support of the campaign, celebrating the vital work of indie booksellers. The first poem will be shared exclusively on Times Radio on Thursday 17th June, read by Kate Harris from Harris & Harris Books in Suffolk, while the second poem will be unveiled on the Books Are My Bag social media channels on Wednesday 23rd June, read by Fleur Sinclair from Sevenoaks Bookshop in Kent.
Authors offering signed copies or bookplates available exclusively from indies include: Ben Aaronovitch, offering exclusive signed copies to mark the 10th anniversary of Rivers of London series; Reverend Richard Coles will be doing special bookplates for this latest book The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss ; international best-selling author of The Silent Patient Alex Michaelides will offer exclusive content for indies to mark the publication of his latest thriller The Maidens; rapper, comedian, actor and author Ben Bailey Smith, author of Something I Said, will be doing a special signed edition exclusively for independent bookshops (with extra jokes!), as well as a selection of POS including a character standee, die-cut bookmarks, posters and postcards; Sarah Winman’s stunning new novel Still Life will have an exclusive edition for Independent Bookshop Week is signed, has exclusive Florentine-tile endpapers and an exclusive gold-foil cover; Esther Freud, author of I Couldn’t Love You More, will offer signed bookplates and an exclusive gold-foiled bookmark only available to indie bookshops; Kirsty Capes will be signing copies of her literary debut Careless; Susannah Wise will do signed copies and POS kits for the publication of her debut novel This Fragile Earth; Carolyn Dunster, author of Cut & Dry: The Modern Guide to Dried Flowers will be offering signed copies of her book.
Andersen Press will be offering independent bookshops exclusive early release of two of Mr Benn titles by David McKee – Mr Benn 123456789 and Mr Benn Big Top – ahead of general release in July. Canongate will be doing an early release exclusively for indies of I Get Loud by David Ouimet, ahead of general release on 1 July. Oi Aardvark from the popular series Oi Frog and Friends (Hachette) will be releasing 500 early copies for IBW. Pizza Girl (HQ) by Jean Kyoung Frazier will be released early exclusively for indies, together with exclusive Pizza Box POS.
Rob Biddulph, author of Dog Gone, said: “I think indie bookshop owners really are the unsung heroes of the pandemic – they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep their communities serviced – really heroic efforts on many, many people’s parts and it’s been lovely to see how communities have rallied around their bookshops too, to keep them going. If you give a little love, it and it all comes back to you, in the words of Bugsy Malone.”
Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the Booksellers Association, commented: “We’re inviting book buyers to “shop local” this Independent Bookshop Week, and celebrate the unique experience that can only be found by shopping with a brick and mortar independent bookshop. There is a wealth of activity going on up and down the country, in-store and online. There really is something for everyone.
We are enormously grateful to Hachette UK for their continued support and sponsorship of Independent Bookshop Week, and to all of the publishers, authors, illustrators, poets, and of course the booksellers themselves, who make the week so special. We really can’t wait to launch Independent Bookshop Week 2021.”
Find more information about Independent Bookshop Week activities here.
Follow the latest developments via social media: #IndieBookshopWeek @BooksAreMyBag