Since local booksellers really are the best placed to get new titles to readers, we asked 12 bookshops from up and down the country to champion one title each from the shortlists. Each Bookshop Champion celebrated their shortlisted title in their own way, from interviews and features in local press to events, social media activity and more. Sunny Singh, co-founder of the prize, says, "The Jhalak Prize is delighted to once again partner with 12 independent bookshops who join us as our Bookshop Champions to celebrate shortlisted books in the run up to our awards on 26th of May. Independent bookshops are crucial to our industry and absolute lifesavers for writers. Their ongoing role in championing our shortlists cannot be emphasized enough. We are grateful for their support in championing our shortlistees."
Find out more about this year's Bookshop Champions below.
Jhalak Prize Shortlist
Like A Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo - Lighthouse Books, Edinburgh
We're over the moon to be chosen as a bookshop champion for the astonishing Anthony Ezekiel (writing as Vahni Capildeo). They are an extraordinary talent - bold, direct and playful. Readers will relish their latest experiments, pushing us to engage with silences and space in new ways. Like a Tree, Walking is destined to join the canon of ecopoetics, reflecting the concerns of our age in fascinating ways.
- Mairi, Lighthouse Bookshop
Watch Read Think Act ep. 13 with Vahni Capildeo
The Roles We Play by Sabba Khan - Newham Bookshop, East London
I am very proud to champion The Roles We Play by local author Sabba Khan. This powerful graphic memoir examines her identity as a second generation Muslim migrant.
- Vivian, Newham Bookshop
Visit Newham Bookshop's website for updates
Consumed by Arifa Akbar - October Books, Southampton
Recalling the heartbreaking clarity of Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, and the socio-historical and cultural confluences of Jessica Au and Arundhati Roy, Consumed is a subtly challenging, quietly poignant, but ultimately hopeful work. We’re incredibly proud to be championing such a daring, trailblazing debut. Consumed is the must read memoir of the year!
- Jonny, October Books
Read more on October Books' blog
Keeping the House by Tice Cin - Pages of Hackney, East London
Keeping the House is simply one of the most innovative and exciting works of London fiction in recent memory. Tice Cin has so warmly and carefully illuminated the complexities of community- and family-making in our corner of the capital, and it’s an honour to champion a book that celebrates migration across multiple generations with such vision, hope, and love.
- Ollie, Pages of Hackney
Listen to Tice Cin's playlist to accompany Keeping the House
Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi - Shelf Life Books and Zines, Cardiff
We're so excited to be championing Somebody Loves You from the shortlist this year. Mona Arshi's writing perfectly describes the beauty of life's quieter moments, we can't wait to get her words into our customer's hands and hearts.
- Rosie, Shelf Life Books and Zines
Follow Shelf Life Books and Zines on Twitter
Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller - Storysmith, Bristol
It's such a pleasure to be championing Kei Miller's lyrical and engaging essay collection, as part of a stunning shortlist for this year's Jhalak Prize! With bold and creative ideas and powerful storytelling, Things I Have Withheld embodies so many of the qualities and values that the Jhalak Prize represents, we're excited for more readers to discover this beautiful book.
- Emily, Storysmith
Follow Storysmith Books on Twitter
Jhalak Children's & YA Prize Shortlist
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíkí-Íyímídé - Afrori Books, Brighton
Afrori Books are delighted to champion Ace Of Spades for the Jhalak Prize. Afrori Books is here to support black authors, create diverse bookshelves and be a voice against injustice. This amazing book is an outstanding thriller that is not afraid to deal with the destructiveness of institutional racism. In the current climate with what is happening to our young people in school, this book is more relevant than ever and we could not think of a better book to be shortlisted and one that sits so well with our values.
- Carolynn, Afrori Books
Follow Afrori Books on Twitter
Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan - Children's Bookshop, Muswell Hill
What's a joy it's been to champion such an inventive and funny book! We were drawn to the love and affection for the cultural and character idiosyncracies, and so warmly and humourously drawn. The perfect portrait of friendship and family, and a pleasure to put into the hands of our children!
- Sanchita, Children’s Bookshop Muswell Hill
Find out how the shop are celebrating on Twitter
Musical Truth by Jeffrey Boakye, illustrated by Ngadi Smart - Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Being of a certain age, I was interested to read the chapters about Linton Kwezi Johnson's 'Sonny's Lettah' and The Specials' 'Ghost Town' which were part of the soundtrack of my youth, and the last few years we've heard Lord Kitchener's calypso 'London is the Place for Me' in so many programmes about the Windrush Generation. But I am pretty ignorant about more recent Black British music. This book will really help, not least as you can read the chapters on Jords, Dave, Fuse ODG and others then watch the linked YouTube playlist of the whole book.
- Ross, Five Leaves Bookshop
Watch Five Leaves' interview with Jeffrey Boakye
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann - La Biblioteka, Sheffield
I’m really happy to be championing The Crossing this year, and innovative and intimate telling of two echoing voices trying to make sense of their journey through grief and trauma.
- Alex, La Biblioteka
Follow La Biblioteka on Twitter
We're Going to Find the Monster by Malorie Blackman, illustrated by Dapo Adeola - Mostly Books, Abingdon
We are so happy that Mostly Books is championing We’re Going to Find the Monster for this year’s Jhalak Prize. We love how brilliantly this picture book captures the wonder and expanse of children’s imaginations. To be able to champion not one, but two incredible talents in the form of Malorie Blackman and Dapo Adeola is a great privilege, and we can’t wait to get started.
- Sarah, Mostly Books
Read The Abingdon Herald's piece about Mostly Books
The Sound of Everything by Rebecca Henry - Round Table Books, Brixton
The Sound of Everything is a compelling upper YA title that will resonate with anyone who has struggled with feeling invisible and finding their place and people. The narrative is gritty, realistic and authentic. Rebecca Henry strikes a fine balance between complex character development and page-turner. I recommend this to anyone who would like to read a truly unique story; unlike anything I have read before.
- Meera, Round Table
Follow Round Table on Twitter