Awards: British Book Industry; RSL Ondaatje

Among other honors given last night at the British Book Awards, as reported by the Bookseller, Waterstones won Book Retailer of the Year, cited for a "transformative year" marked by a return to profitability. Managing director James Daunt was praised for his "visionary leadership." Judges added: "Last year showed that publishers simply cannot do without Waterstones. Its staff do a phenomenal job--they're brilliant at taking books people haven't heard of and turning them into something huge."

The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin won Independent Bookshop of the Year, the first time the prize has been won by a bookstore in Ireland. Judges said the store "punches way above its weight," has "outstanding" service and marketing, a "welcoming" environment and a "carefully chosen" range of books.

Tales on Moon Lane, London, won Children's Bookseller of the Year and was cited for going "over and beyond the call of duty" for customers. It put on a record number of events last year and launched a website for self-published authors and indie publishers.

The Royal Horticultural Society won Non-Traditional Retailer of the Year, cited for its "superb curation," "knowledgeable staff" and "extensive stock."

And Rebecca MacAlister, who is a bookseller at the flagship Blackwell's in Oxford, won Individual Bookseller of the Year. She was praised for revolutionizing the image and performance of the store, providing "outstanding" customer service and earning the loyalty of her team.


Francis Spufford has won the £10,000 (about $12,925) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize for his debut novel, Golden Hill (Faber). Winner also of the Costa First Novel Award, the book will be published in the U.S. by Scribner on June 27 as Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York.

One of the judges, Mimi Khalvati, commented: "Joyously written in mock 18th century prose, Golden Hill is a remarkable evocation of New York in its infancy, along with its more reprehensible inhabitants--a new world indeed for Mr Smith, fresh from England, arriving with a secret portfolio. An unpredictable, exhilarating, protean novel, Golden Hill also captures the vein of darkness, the fear of the other, that runs through American history."

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