Sue Porter is the owner of Linghams Bookshop in Heswall, which has been named a regional finalist in The British Book Awards 2021.
The British Book Awards 2021, or Nibbies, represent the best of the book trade – the UK’s leading creative industry.
The last year has been difficult for the entire trade but indie booksellers were perhaps at the sharp end of the pandemic and to be named as a regional finalist during hard times shows passion and commitment from Sue and her team.
birkenhead.news spoke to Sue about Linghams and of the recognition from the Nibbies.
“Linghams is an indie bookshop and has been in Heswall for around 20 years.”, Sue said. “We bought it over 5 years ago – myself and my partner Mike King.”
In pre-pandemic times, the bookshop hosted many author events and signings such as Gary Barlow, Michael Palin, and Bill Bryson, to name a few and Sue is looking forward to being able to do more live events when COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
In the meantime, Linghams has started an online platform called ‘At Home With 4 Indies’, of which Sue said was “My mad idea during the first national lockdown: to do online events with authors.”
Sue contacted 3 of her close contacts in the industry, Booka Books, Book-ish, and Forum Books, and to date, they have hosted over 200 events online. “These have included Robert Webb, Stephen Fry, the Yorkshire Shepherdess, Patrick Ness, Marian Keyes, and Andy Griffiths.”, she said proudly.
On her work in the community, Sue said, “We also take authors to schools for free events including talks by Dermot O’Leary, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and Konnie Huq.”
Sue has plenty planned for schools for World Book Week and is asking schools to get in touch with her if they would like to take part .
The annual British Book Awards, first run in 1990, is this year returning with a virtual ceremony on 13 May.
The Nibbies recognise that bookshops’ championing of authors is vital to the industry. “We want to find the best independent bookshops from rural Scotland to inner-city London.”, a spokesperson for the Nibbies said.
Sue said she was “delighted” to reach the finals stage. “This was a lovely email to receive yesterday. We have been shortlisted for North of England Regional finalist indie bookshop of the year.
“To receive this when we are closed was just such a boost. Honestly, I think I cried when I saw the email!”
Although not physically open to the public, due to COVID-19 restrictions Linghams are doing click and collect, online orders and phone orders.