Dahlia Books shortlisted in British Book Awards

We’re thrilled to share the news that we’ve been shortlisted in the Small Press of the Year category at this year’s British Book Awards.

Farhana Shaikh, managing editor of Dahlia Books said she was in shock: “2020 was a tremendously challenging year. We were looking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary but the pandemic had other plans. It meant that we had to adapt quickly and move our plans online.”

What was initially scheduled as a one-day festival to be held in Leicester resulted in a 10 day festival held online due to the pandemic. Pre-festival workshops held weekly as part of the press’s annual Short Story September campaign created buzz and excitement for the main programme.

An innovative marketing campaign run across our social media channels resulted in 3,694 page views on Eventbrite. The concept behind the celebrations was to offer attendees a similar festival experience that they would in person. This saw us deliver festival goody bags to attendees which included a tote bag, special anniversary notebook and literature from our sponsors.

2020 also saw backlist titles Table Manners by Susmita Bhattacharya and Subjunctive Moods by CG Menon broadcast on Radio 4 Extra over ten days – reaching audiences of up to 1.2 million.

The press also won funding from Arts Council England to run a new short story development programme, A Brief Pause – which is supporting 20 short story writers and 12 creative writing practitioners through training and masterclasses.

The one-woman press founded in 2010 is run from the corner of the kitchen and is committed to building a community for underrepresented voices.

More than 40 publishers have been listed in the regional and country shortlists of The British Book Awards’ prize for Small Presses, sponsored by the CPI Group, which celebrates the innovative and nimble publishers making names for themselves outside the mainstream.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges for the British Book Awards, said: “After a year like no other, the shortlist shows the strength, breadth and durability of small press publishing across the United Kingdom and Ireland. These businesses, all of them with sales under £2m and many much smaller, fended off bookshops closures, the loss of author events, and the national lockdowns to deliver an incredible set of results with book sales up, diverse publishing on the rise, and new business opportunities taken. The shortlist speaks to how driven and agile these businesses are, but also how well supported they are by readers, booksellers, and their authors and illustrators.”

The regional and country winners of the Small Press of the Year award will be announced on 17th March; the overall winner will be revealed during the online British Book Awards ceremony which this year will take place on 13th May.