The Booksellers Association (BA) has today revealed the initial plans for Independent Bookshop Week 2021, the annual celebration of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland taking place between 19-26 June 2021 and sponsored by Hachette.
With bookshops due to re-open on 12 April with other non-essential shops, and all social distancing restrictions to be removed from 21 June, Independent Bookshop Week will go ahead with virtual and, wherever possible and safe, in-store activities. The campaign aims to celebrate the incredible resilience and creativity demonstrated by independent booksellers over the past year, in the face of the multiple challenges posed by the pandemic.
From exclusive poems to early releases for indies, and from Cressida Cowell’s Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag to signed editions and book plates, Independent Bookshop Week 2021 returns with lots of exciting activities, with more plans to be revealed. The campaign’s new logo was designed by writer and illustrator Sophy Henn.
Early initiatives for IBW 2021 include:
Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell will be designing an exclusive Independent Bookshop Week children’s bag, available exclusively from indie bookshops.
Viv Groskop will be doing a series of virtual events for the paperback release of Au Revoir, Tristesse, with signed stock available for indies.
Alex T. Smith, the author and illustrator behind the Claude and Mr Penguin series, will be doing an Instagram takeover tour for a number of different indies.
Jim Field, author and illustrator of Monsieur Roscoe will be involved in activities with bookshops near St. Pancras, to celebrate the French theme of the book, in his first venture as a solo author-illustrator.
Author and illustrator of Indigo Wilde and the Creatures of Jelly Bean Crescent, Pippa Curnick, will be creating window displays with her amazing, eye-poppingly bright illustrations, alongside in-store branded competitions and activities.
Instagram legend and illustrator Alea Marley will be doing virtual (or in person) events with signed stock of her book Get Up Elizabeth!
Brian Bilston, the unofficial “Poet Laureate of Twitter” and author of Alexa, what is there to know about love (Picador) will be writing an exclusive poem in support of the campaign, celebrating the vital work of indie booksellers.
Brian Bilston said: “I’m thrilled to have been asked to write a poem in celebration of Independent Bookshop Week. And celebrated they should be. The last twelve months have been a stark reminder of the importance of our independent bookshops: the role they play in the heart of their communities; their ability to connect us with other people and other worlds; and the companionship of books. I don’t think I’ve missed anything more in this year of lockdowns than being able to pop into my local bookshop for a quick, casual browse only to emerge an hour or so later carrying enough books to stock a miniature library.”
During Independent Bookshop Week, graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero invites all artists and book-lovers to create a quick sketch, drawing, or masterpiece of their favourite independent bookshop for a chance to be included in its #DrawYourBookshop Postcard Book that will be published late rin the year. The winners will be announced during the summer, and offered a contract for the reproduction of their work.
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. Comma Press will be joining forces with Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh to launch their forthcoming anthology The American Way with a virtual event taking place on 23 June 7-8pm. The event will feature co-editors Ra Page and Orsola Casagrande in conversation with Lighthouse bookseller Noor Hemani.
Andersen Press will be offering idependent 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. And the popular series Oi Aardvark from Oi Frong and Friends (Hachette) will be releasing 500 early copies for IBW.
Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the BA, commented: “We can’t wait for Independent Bookshop Week 2021. The past year has undoubtedly been a challenging one for indie booksellers, but their resilience, flexibility and incredible hard work throughout national lockdowns has been deeply inspiring to witness. We’re looking forward to shining a light on the UK and Ireland’s brilliant indie booksellers during Independent Bookshop Week, and encouraging all book-lovers to support indies (whether on the high street or online) and join the celebrations.”
Follow the latest developments via social media: #IndieBookshopWeek @BooksAreMyBag