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Winners of Welsh publisher and bookshop of the year announced

17 Mar 2022 4 minute read
Rily Publishing and Book-ish in Crickhowell

Rily Publications and Book-ish of Crickhowell have been named Welsh publisher of the years and independent Welsh bookshop of the year in this year’s British Book Awards announced today.

Rily, a family-based publisher, set up in 2001 by Richard and Lynda Tunnicliffe, competed for what is effectively the Welsh publisher of the year crown.

Announcing the news this morning, organisers Bookseller said: “Congratulations to @RilyBooks, #BritishBookAwards Small Press of the Year Country Winner for Wales!”

Specialising at first in Welsh language editions of popular children’s books, Rily has now expanded to a fascinating and diverse list in both Welsh and English.

Responding to the news, Rily tweeted: “Fabulous news for Rily Books this morning. Thank you so much to our brilliant team, all our colleagues and the publishing sector”.

Rily secured its first ever position on the independent publisher short list alongside Firefly Press in Cardiff and Ceredigion-based Parthian Books.

The British Book Awards – or Nibbies – overseen by The Bookseller, are literary accolades awarded to the best of the book world, with a multitude of award categories, from publishers to bookshops all around the UK.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges for the British Book Awards, says: “The Small Press award has become one of the most important at the British Book Awards with the more than 60 submissions showcasing the sheer versatility and breadth of publishing across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Here are publishers at the coalface, making every sale count, building customer relationships, and nurturing writers and writing through what are often the early stages of their careers.”

Independent bookshop finalist

Book-ish is an independent bookshop with a wide-ranging events programme as well as running the annual Crickhowell Literature Festival alongside the Dragon Inn and will now go through to the overall UK shortlist

The busy shop and café on the High Street won the Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2020 and owner Emma Corvish-Walters was delighted to be on the shortlist again.

Commenting on the news, Emma said: “Being a country finalist means a great deal, for me, for my amazing team and for our community both locally and online. It’s real recognition in our industry for what we do and how we do it. I’m so proud to be part of such a creative, collaborative and innovative industry

“The past year has been somewhat of a rollercoaster with restrictions, supplier issues and uncertainty but from that has come a huge amount of innovation and creativity across the board. We have some wonderful booksellers in Wales and everything they have achieved has been an inspiration.

“The community support has been staggering and support closer to home, from family, friends and our team kept me going. There’s never a ‘right’ time for big decisions and moves to take place, and as a business you do have to master the art of juggling it all, but also asking for help when needed…..I very much hope we NEVER have a Christmas trading period like that again though!

“Whats next? Hopefully a period of calm, I want to enjoy what we’ve built, spend more time bookselling and connecting with our customers in the shop and at events…..I’m entirely unable to resist a good idea though so who knows what will happen next, there’s always an opportunity around the corner.”

Deeply rooted in its community, the shop runs regular author events and signings, a community book club, quiz nights, games nights and a writer’s evening which is a social, supportive space where any-stage writers can meet each other to share their work.

Book-ish had the support from their community to help them buy the bookshop building after the future was put in doubt due to an unexpected sale by the landlord.

There’s a strong environmental theme to their stock and you can catch Ben Rawlence talk about his book The Treeline on 30 March in their events programme.

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