TWO Shropshire bookshops have been announced as finalists for a prestigious award.

Poetry Pharmacy, in Bishop's Castle, and Burway Books in Church Stretton are shortlisted in the British Book Awards 2014 Independent Bookshop of the Year.

It celebrates stores that are at the centre of the local communities, bringing passion and knowledge to the shop flood. 

Deborah Alma, from Pharmacy, said it meant a great deal to be a finalist.

"Since we opened four years ago, with a mad idea to open a poetry specialist bookshop in the middle of the tiny town of Bishop’s Castle, the odds seemed to be stacked against us," she said.

Ludlow Advertiser: Deborah Alma says the people in Bishop's Castle has helped support the shopDeborah Alma says the people in Bishop's Castle has helped support the shop (Image: Poetry Pharmacy)

"Poetry, a high street with tumbleweed and buzzards, a global pandemic and no real idea of what we were doing. We have made it work and the lovely people in this town, the poetry community and wider still, have supported us.

"We can’t tell you what this means to us to be recognised in this way."

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Burway Books said it was proud to announce that its fabulous little shop has been selected as a regional and country finalist for the independent bookshop of the year. 

The shops will vie to win their region first, which will be announced on Tuesday, March 12. 

All of the winners will then battle it out for the overall prize at the British Book Awards ceremony at Grosvenor House, London on Monday, May 13.

"Ruth Gardner, UK sales manager for Gardners, which is sponsoring the awards, said: "

“We are proud to be sponsoring the Independent Bookseller of the Year award for the 15th consecutive year.

"Each year throws up new challenges and it great to see so many bookshops adapt and change to meet these challenges.

"We know it hasn’t been easy for many, but it ’s amazing to see so many thriving. The year’s list is a tough one again with every entry being a worthy winner.

"We’d like to wish them all the very best of luck and can’t wait to be part of this journey with them.”