This week, Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia, and McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, Canada, were named the grand prize winners of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book Halloween Party Contest, sponsored by HarperCollins Children's Books. Each store will host Gaiman for an event in mid-December.
The winners were chosen from the more than 40 stores from Canada and the continental U.S. that submitted entries to the contest, which was announced by Gaiman at ABA's Celebration of Bookselling Luncheon at BookExpo America in May. "From these excellent submissions, 11 finalists were selected, and Gaiman was so impressed with the quality and caliber of the participants that he decided to select not one, but two grand prize winners," said HarperCollins.
Little Shop of Stories owner Diane Capriola told BTW that she and her staff were "just thrilled" to be named a grand prize winner and were still recovering from the news. Capriola, who acknowledged that there was "a lot of strong competition" for the prize, said that she and her staff had set out to transform the bookstore into the graveyard. The event, which drew about 250 people, included adult fans of The Graveyard Book, families, and kids.
The basement of Little Shop of Stories, which is "scary with the lights on," was transformed into the crypt, where customers found themselves in the dark surrounded by the likes of Bod, Silas, and Jack, the murderer. The bookshop also hosted a dance between the living and the dead -- a Danse Macabre -- on the town square. Customers created their own epitaphs, were entertained by a local band, and generally had a great time at the event, which had been publicized through the store newsletter and blog.
The Little Shop of Stories staff, who "are huge Gaiman fans, poured their hearts and souls" into creating a wonderful event, said Capriola. Now, she's busy working with HarperCollins to determine the right venue for Gaiman's December appearance. "We're already getting calls and e-mails from far away," said Capriola, "and we have a very loyal Gaiman fan base, so we're expecting a large turnout." Excited customers are now posting their reactions to Gaiman's scheduled December 14 appearance on the store blog.
HarperCollins also announced five first prize winners:
- Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona
- Russo's Books in Bakersfield, California
- Schuler Books & Music in Okemos, Michigan
- The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, New York
- Tome on the Range, in Las Vegas, Nevada
And four second prize winners:
- David-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville, Tennessee
- Forster's Book Garden in Bolton, Ontario
- Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington
First prize winners will receive five signed copies of The Graveyard Book and a customized video greeting from Gaiman; second prize winners will receive one signed copy of The Graveyard Book and a tagged video greeting from Gaiman.
Check out Neil Gaiman's Journal to learn how hard it was to pick a winner from all the deserving submissions. And for more on some of the 40-plus contest entries, check out our previous BTW story on indie Graveyard Halloween Party events. --Rosemary Hawkins