A NEWLY opened book shop has bagged a national award at a ceremony.

Newly opened Afrori Books in Brighton has won the Bookseller Future Book award for highly commended business of 2021.

Founder Carolynn Bain said: “We were unable to attend the event as we didn’t want to close the shop for the day, so we were really shocked when we found out on Saturday morning that we had won.

"We just couldn’t believe it. Even to be shortlisted just a few weeks after opening our doors was a surprise, but we really didn’t imagine we would win anything.”

The Future Book Awards were held in London on Friday 19 with hundreds turning up to watch.

Carolynn started an online bookshop last year after George Floyd was murdered.

She said she wanted to create a place where books by black authors could easily be found and to give them a platform that they did not seem to have in other book shops.

On starting the business last year Afrori Books sparked controversy with some saying that it was not necessary to have a bookshop that favoured black authors and the stores email and social media accounts were hit with a flurry of racial abuse.

Despite this the online store has continued to thrive and has been highlighted by several social media influencers, had articles in the mainstream press and is part of a BBC world service documentary which aired in the September.

Carolynn said at the time: “Yes, there were a lot of people that think we are wrong. But, we believe in the work we do, it is making a difference.”

The Afrori Books store then opened its doors in October this year in 28 Kensington St, Brighton BN1 4AJ, following a successful crowdfunding campaigning which raised over £12k.

The shop has seen great interest since opening, with customers travelling long distances beyond Sussex to visit.

They are planning a number of events coming up to Christmas including on December 11 when black Santa will doing a meet and greet and the first “Hairducation” workshop for parents with children who have black and mixed parentage hair.

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