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Meet Suzie Bull from Farrell’s Bookshop: ABA Bookseller of the Year

July 3, 2019

Farrell’s Bookshop has been servicing Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula for the past 41 years. It was founded in 1978 by Roy and Liz Farrell, and then ownership was passed on to Ian and Meredith Horton in 1998. It is a proud independent bookshop, with a broad collection of books for adults and children, across a wide range of interest areas. Recently, Farrell’s bookseller Suzie Bull won the ABA Bookseller of the Year at the Australian Booksellers Association conference in Melbourne. We asked Suzie to answer a few questions for us:

Firstly, congratulations on winning Bookseller of the Year at the ABA conference. That’s a wonderful achievement. How are you feeling?

Currently I am feeling like I am in a dream. It is quite an honour to be nominated and shortlisted, let alone to be selected as the finalist for this wonderful prize. I feel as though it is a testament to the reputation of Farrell’s Bookshop, the talent and dedication of the staff I work with, the knowledge, advice and direction each month by the publishers Sales Representatives, the support of our local community, and the quality of great independent authors in Australia and beyond. Without all of these factors working together, this prize wouldn’t have been possible.

Tell us about your career as a bookseller.

From a very young age I was always obsessed with books, so being a bookseller has always been my destiny. I started my life as a Teacher-Librarian, working both in Secondary Schools and Public Libraries, before I was lucky enough to land a job at Farrell’s Bookshop. I started off at Farrell’s in a primarily customer service role. It was a dream job recommending books to our local community and making sure the right book landed in the right hands. Over some years, the role developed into liaising with school accounts, rostering, and some of the buying. As Ian & Meredith Horton retired I have stepped up into the role of Manager, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the shop, a job which I dearly love and look forward to each day.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

There are so many elements of my role which I love and enjoy, so it is hard to break it down to one element. The most rewarding part of the job is when you connect the right book with the reader. It is such a ‘yes’ moment when you see a reader get excited by a book you have ordered in for them, or when they come back to tell you what they thought of a title or author you have recommended. To be able to converse with customers and staff about books we have loved (and not so much loved) is an element of my job which I revel in every day.

What are your plans for the next year? Are there any programs or events you’re planning?

At Farrell’s Bookshop we are always looking ahead and beyond our everyday. Love Your Bookshop Day always features heavily on our events calendar each year, so planning for that day in August is already underway. We are also finalising details for events with Michael Robotham, Elliot Perlman, Erin Rhodes & Fiona McIntosh, with discussions well underway for Ash Grunwald, Christian White, Garry Disher & Tim Costello.

Top three books? Is it possible to choose?

It is so hard to break it down to a top 3.. I have to sneak at least one more title in.

Flames – Robbie Arnott

Tin Man – Sarah Winman

Fight Like a Girl – Clementine Ford

Power of Hope – Kon Karapanagiotidis

What are you reading right now, or what are you looking forward to reading?

I never have just one book on the go. I have multiple books I am reading, to suit how I’m feeling and also what is immediately at hand. Some of which I am currently reading:

Reckoning –Magda Szubanski

Maybe the horse will talk – Elliot Perlman

Overstory – Richard Powers

No Friend But the Mountains – Behrouz Boochani

Farrell’s Bookshop is open 7 days a week, it is located in the heart of the Mornington Main Street shopping precinct.

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