Scott is a 24-year-old with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia, who found it very difficult to write fast, do maths or read traditional novels as fast as everyone else at school. His discovery of Manga books, despite being disparaged by teachers, radically improved his reading, and inspired him to create a bookshop to open the world of Manga and Graphic Books to an audience that don’t feel they’re readers, or recognised by traditional bookshops.
His bookshop is planned as a small, community based, colourful bookshop where children, young people and adults can explore and discover the Manga and Graphic novels. Through The Otaku Project, some will be discovering a new way into reading, others will be making new friends, and everyone will be able to discover the book or series that suits them and an easy way to buy and collect.
On discovering he was a New Futures finalist: "I am so excited by this chance and feel really humbled because the bookshop ideas on the New Futures' shortlist are amazing and all going to make a difference. It's so exciting to be a part of this change for good. I've been ambitious to be a bookseller for a long time, and New Futures has made me see how possible my ambition is, as well as the work it’s going to take to realise it. It’s broken down barriers, given me a huge amount of confidence and knowledge, and I feel I am on my way.""
Emily is a working class, queer woman living with chronic mental health issues. She set up an online bookshop during the pandemic (not without challenges) and is keen to expand her business with brick-and-mortar premises. Her full-time job in nursing allows her to interact and communicate with a hugely diverse group of people every day, which has been a key transferable skill for her business.
Olive’s Book Club is a queer, feminist, anti-racist and anti-ableist book shop and one-woman owned business based in Newcastle Upon Tyne (where there are currently no independent bookshops). It will sell fiction and non-fiction titles that aim to share the stories and voices of marginalised voices, bring people together through reading and education and to create a community of activism within the local area.
Emily said “As a New Futures winner, I now have a greater set of tools and contacts to enable me to finally create my physical dream bookshop, a community driven, educational and safe space for the North East. I am beyond thrilled".
Born a Nigerian and raised in East London, K has worked in Parliament, for WeWork, as a head-hunter, and in the publishing industry. She has a solid understanding of business, what is required, the systems and process, operating costs and what customers and readers want. Her hope is to use this knowledge to create a space that can contribute powerfully to the people of her community.
The PRIM Bookstore will be a community HQ and a platform for education and collaboration. Created as a result of a love for reading, The PRIM Bookstore aims to provide another avenue for building community – a sober space, an educational space, a place where we can feed our minds. They will sell books as well as offering an on-going exhibition of photography, short stories, films and 3D art prioritising queer people of Black ancestry. They’ll also offer event hire space, recording and DJ studios, workspace and a library.
K said "I am thrilled to be selected as a winner for New Futures. My vision is to create a space that is more than just a bookstore, it's a haven, a place of learning, networking and coming together. A space where my community feels welcome, all the time! The PRIM Bookstore is for all of us a reminder that we can thrive, we can imagine and have better for ourselves - and now New Futures will be a part of PRIM's origin story!"
Jacaranda Books received a Highly Commended from the judges
Valerie Brandes is an entrepreneur, editor and Publishing Director at Jacaranda Books, an award-winning, diversity-led publisher which she founded in 2012. Armed with a bookselling and editorial background, an MA in Publishing Studies from City University, and professional experience at Profile Books, in 2012 Brandes decided to start her own publishing venture with a focus on writing by diverse authors from Britain and throughout the African diaspora.
Brandes has since been named on the Powerlist of Influential Black Britons in 2017 and 2018. She has been involved in diversity initiatives with Google and, more recently, the 'City of Women London' campaign launched by Reni Eddo-Lodge and Emma Watson. Under her leadership, Jacaranda won the Inclusivity in Publishing Award in 2019 and was named Small Press of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards.
The Jacaranda Bookshop will be the publisher’s physical space for selling directly from their prize-winning list representing the best of contemporary literature from across the African Diaspora, as well as, importantly, supporting independent presses whose books align with their ethos. They will use the bookshop for hosting events and creating a localised community hub for residents, underrepresented communities of colour and for creative and open-minded Londoners and beyond.