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Maggie O’Farrell Announced as an Ambassador for Independent Bookshop Week

By Hannah Collins

Independent Bookshop Week was launched in 2006 by the Booksellers Association as part of its ‘Books Are My Bag’ campaign: a series of events and strategies that aim to celebrate the many incredible bookshops across the UK and Ireland. Independent Bookshop Week celebrated its fifteenth birthday in June 2021. It is now sponsored by Hachette UK and has no plans of stopping in 2023. This yearly celebration of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland aims to highlight the integral role that indie bookstores play in their communities (which has become all the more clear to readers throughout the pandemic) and is set to be held between 17 and 24 June 2023.

This year, some big names, including Hamnet author Maggie O’Farrell, are appearing as ambassadors at bookshop events around the country. Reverend Richard Coles (whose new novel A Death in the Parish is receiving a special indie bookshop edition which will be available exclusively from indie bookshops for the week) and Paterson Joseph are also featured as ambassadors. More than 700 independent bookshops are confirmed to be taking part, the highest number ever to be involved in the event. Special initiatives that are taking place this year include indie bookshops working with local artists to create bespoke window art for Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club books, as well as the children’s section of the event featuring the artwork of Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon in order to celebrate the popular series’ twentieth anniversary. Alongside this, Bookshop Crawl UK will also be putting together an Oxford bookshop crawl on Saturday 24 June: an afternoon exploring Oxford and its bookshops.

It has always been important to support our indie stores, and Independent Bookshop Week is the perfect way to celebrate them. According to Books Are My Bag, indies are “staffed with book experts who are wildly passionate about reading and getting the right book into the right hands. Independent bookshops bring vitality to our high streets, work with local communities and champion reading for pleasure. Independent bookshops generate local jobs and contribute to our local economy and local community. Independent bookshops have real passion, real people and real conversations.” This idea is shared by many prolific authors, with Neil Gaiman saying of bookshops that “a town isn’t a town without a bookstore” and Maya Angelou stating that “I always felt, if I can get to a library, I’ll be OK.”

Below are some suggestions from the Books Are My Bag website about how you and your loved ones can celebrate Independent Bookshop Week this year:

  • Find your local indie bookstore

  • Shop with them between Saturday 17 June – Saturday 24 June 2023

  • Plan a bookshop crawl

  • Share your book purchases on social media, tagging @booksaremybag and #IndieBookshopWeek

  • Share the love of independent bookshops on social media and encourage your followers to shop indie

  • Every bookshop will have their own way of celebrating Independent Bookshop Week so make sure you find out what your local has planned – whether it’s an in-store author signing, a virtual event, book club, special offers and more

  • Keep up to date with the campaign via the Books Are My Bag Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Sign up to Caboodle to see what events and offers are available from your local bookshops.


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