Liz Walsh of Stone House Books was announced as this year’s winner of The O’Brien Press Bookseller of the Year Award at the annual Booksellers Association conference and dinner dance at the Radisson Blu, Dublin Airport on Friday March 23rd.
From roles in Kilkenny Library and Roberts Books, to twenty five years at The Book Centre before opening Stone House Books in 2008, Liz has had a prominent role in the Kilkenny book scene for over four decades. This award comes one month after her bookshop, Stone House Books, closed its doors in February 2018.
Ivan O’Brien MD of The O’Brien Press said: ‘Liz has an infectious love of books. After working in a bookshop for years she took the leap and set up her own. And when she was forced out of business she did it again! Kilkenny is already well served with bookshops, but Stone House Books stood out for Liz’s knowledge and energy, and her customers have a huge loyalty to her. The finances of independent bookselling have never been easy, but over the last few years the constant increases in the costs of doing business have made it impossible to continue, and Liz made the difficult decision to close. The huge respect and affection for her was clear from the long standing ovation as she accepted the trophy. She’s a really special person, and a brilliant bookseller.’
Speaking about her win, Liz said: ‘Having spent over 40 years in the bookselling industry I was very humbled to have received this award. It means the world to me as I feel it’s a massive recognition by my peers of my contribution to bookselling over the years. I can honestly say I never felt it as work and loved the various challenges it brought, although I could have done without some of the stress! It brought me into contact with some incredible authors which in turn I took pride in bringing to my beloved Kilkenny. I’ve had nothing but loyalty from my customers especially during the tough times and I take pride in bringing this beautiful award home to them.’
Liz is the 24th recipient of The O’Brien Bookseller of the Year Award which is presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement or an invaluable contribution to the book trade by an individual bookseller. Winners are presented with ‘The Elements’ a bronze perpetual trophy sculpted by one of Ireland’s leading sculptors, Rowan Gillespie, and a framed commemorative certificate.
Many thanks to this year’s Judges:
- Nigel Carré, Gill Hess
- Vivienne Lavery, Publishers’ Agent
- Jamie O’Connell, Gill Books
- Ivan O’Brien, The O’Brien Press