Proprietors of Woodbine Books, Kilcullen Aidan and Dawn with staff member Saoirse Behan (seated)
Congratulations to Aidan Cunnane and Dawn Behan of Woodbine Books, Kilcullen, who were awarded the Regional Winners for Ireland in the Independent Bookshop of the Year category of the 2018 British Book Awards. The British Book Awards are owned and operated by The Bookseller, the business magazine of the book industry since 1858.
Aidan and Dawn opened the popular hotspot for book lovers in September 2016, and were delivered of twins Naoise and Donal in December that year! The independent bookshop is located at the end of the hill,and looking onto the Market Square is a haven for real book readers. Woodbine stocks a wide range of books, along with greeting cards, journals, book accessories and coffee – and has especially supported many local writers, poets and authors.
The shop has become a community hub, known for stocking an eclectic range of books, offering personal recommendations to customers, tracking down hard-to-find books and generally going that extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” said Dawn. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet! We’ve a great team here, and when we learnt on Twitter that we’d won the Irish section, we got all the staff in for a photograph on Friday. Trade is steadily rising all the time, we are so pleased at how it has picked up and continues to grow”.
The Kilcullen book hub launched author Hazel Gaynor’s book, and has had visits from short story award winner, Orla McAlinden, renowned writer Martin Malone and has already received congratulations from crime writer, Alex Bartlay. Woodbine has recently launched two new book clubs for young adults: on the first and second Saturday of every month, they cater for 12-14 year olds and 14-18 year old respectively, from 4.30pm.
Adult book club is held on the first Friday of every month, starting 10.30am. All welcome. You can catch Woodbine too at the Easter Market in Kilcullen.
According to Bookseller editor Philip Jones, “What marks out the shops on these shortlists is their energy: these are events-led shops that are hand-selling books, often boosted by author visits. They are platforms for the cultural conversations authors and their books can spark, and they play a hugely important role in their communities. Independent bookshops might not have the dominance, the pulling power, the footprint, or the branding of bigger bookshops, but these remarkable shops make it all up in hard graft, expertise and imagination.”
The judging panel has chosen one winner per region/country, winners announced on Friday last. The overall winner will be announced at The British Book Awards ceremony at Grosvenor House in London on 14 May, with the winner to receive £5,000 from wholesaler Gardners Books. Last year, Dublin’s The Gutter Bookshop was crowned Independent Bookshop of theYear.