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2020 Nancy Olson Bookseller Award Recipients

From our friends at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance:

Lisa Yee Swope

Lisa Yee Swope of Bookmarks in Winston-Salem and Bonnie Shank of The Storybook Shoppe in Bluffton, South Carolina are the 2020 recipients of the Nancy Olson Bookseller Award. The Nancy Olson Award was launched in 2019 with an anonymous donation from an author who is also an admirer of the late Nancy Olson, founder of Quail Ridge Books. The award, which comes with a $2000 cash prize, honors booksellers who embody the spirit of Olson’s bookselling legacy of supporting writers–especially new writers–other booksellers, and community outreach.

“Each day in the bookstore is a ray of sunshine surrounded by books and helping parents, grandparents, and children find the right book,” said Bonnie Shank of her work as a bookseller. “Nothing is better than hearing a mother or grandmother say their children devour books. This morning a grandfather came in and was looking for a Christmas book to read to his two and four year old grandchildren through Skype. What fun it was to help him pick the perfect book to share.” Shank said she was “humbled and proud” to have been nominated and selected for the award, which comes with a $2000 cash prize. “Our little children’s bookstore, The Storybook Shoppe, is the soul of our community, Historic Old Town Bluffton, and I am privileged to be a part of it.” Shank came to The Storybook Shoppe nine years ago, after retiring from a 34-year career as an English and Language Arts teacher in the Department of Defense school system, living and teaching in Panama, Okinawa, Japan, and Germany.

Lisa Yee Swope, who joined Bookmarks three years ago as it was transitioning from an annual book festival to a physical bookstore with year-round programming, said “I am delighted that the Bookmarks community sees and lauds my exuberance for sharing the things I love. It’s a daily joy to be part of a great org that is making such a difference in our schools and community.” Swope is a frontline bookseller who manages the Bookmarks Kids Club, a subscription service for kids in which she gets to individually pick books for dozens of children, also allows her to form ongoing relationships with the families in the community and the grandparents, aunts, and uncles in the community who have littles they love in and out of area.

For more information about the Nancy Olson Award, visit or contact Linda-Marie Barrett at