Anne Enright wins Independent Bookshop Week award
Anne Enright, the Irish Fiction Laureate, has won the Independent Bookshop Week award voted for by independent booksellers.
Her novel The Green Road won in the adult fiction category, beating works by Bill Bryson and Kate Atkinson.
Enright said it was "such an honour to be selected for this award by my favourite people - booksellers".
The author also took the opportunity to praise independent bookshops, saying: "Long may they remain."
"Four or five years ago, we were all in a panic that the internet would eat booksellers and paper. But they've battled on and they're starting to flourish," she said, speaking ahead of Independent Bookshop Week.
The Green Road will now be entered into a "best of the best" competition, which will pit previous winners of the award - from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall to Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests - against each other in a public vote.
'Tastes and passions'
Official figures for the number of UK independent bookshops show they fell by 3% last year to 894, down on the previous year.
However, Meryl Halls, head of membership services at the Booksellers Association, said the mood had been "cautiously optimistic" in the sector for the last two years, and that shops "are starting to feel properly confident now".
Independent Bookshop Week, which begins on Friday, is a seven-day celebration of independent retailers and will see events taking place across the UK and Ireland.
"I am a big fan of independent bookshops," said Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson. "I like the way each have their own character... with stock reflecting the tastes and passions of their owners and customers."
Other winners at this year's awards include Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre's victory in the children's category for Pugs of the Frozen North, while the best picture book was won by Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie.