A panel of British judges has named Dublin’s The Gutter Ireland’s best indie bookshop
Dublin – more than most cities – has a long and illustrious literary tradition. Joyce, Wilde, Binchy and Beckett are just a few who hail from the Irish capital and have used it as inspiration for their works.
There are numerous shops, statues and exhibitions dedicated to the literature of the city and this aspect of Dublin frequently draws in visitors.
The Temple Bar-based seller took home the ‘Independent Bookshop of the Year’ at the awards, which are affectionately nicknamed ‘The Nibbies’.
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Judges said that the shop “punches well above its weight” and remarked on its “outstanding” service and marketing strategies.
They added that it had built up a devoted following thanks to its “carefully chosen” selection of books and its “welcoming environment”.
Bob Johnston, the owner of The Gutter, said the award came as a complete surprise and that the fact they were the first Irish winners was the icing on the cake.
“We were so thrilled to win Independent Bookshop of the Year UK and Ireland at the British Book Awards. The shortlist of bookshops was incredible and we really didn’t expect to win,” he told The Irish World.
“It’s even better knowing that it’s the first time an Irish independent bookshop has been awarded the prize and we were delighted to have brought the award home.”
Bob made his way over to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London with the intention of having a good evening and celebrating all that is great about British and Irish literature. But he, and the rest of those associated with The Gutter, was treated to so much more.
He entertainingly – and informatively – documented the night on the shop’s Twitter account and there was genuine elation at their victory. “OMG! #Nibbies Indie Bookshop of the Year!” he wrote, alongside a picture of the trophy, followed by “Thank you everyone! My roaming is gonna be wrecked by the end of the night…”
He was handed a celebratory glass of champagne on the return flight and was relieved at not having to worry about the extra weight he was carrying.
“I was very happy that Aer Lingus accepts trophies as hand baggage,” he added. The overall Book of the Year prize went to Sarah Perry for her critically and commercially acclaimed novel ‘The Essex Serpent’.
Waterstones was named as Book Retailer of the Year while JK Rowling was given a special award for her outstanding contribution to the book trade.
The renowned author also saw a book based on her Harry Potter characters take home the coveted ‘Bestseller Award’. ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, a play written by Jack Thorne based on an original story by Rowling, Thorne and John Tiffany, shifted almost 850,000 copies in its first week.
It broke all records for Drama Texts, Plays and Screenplays categories and boasted a first-week value of £8.7 million.
The book held the number one spot for six weeks, hitting the million-copy mark after just a fortnight on sale.