Unity’s Tilly Lloyd given Lifetime Achievement Award by Book Trade Industry

A “national icon of bookselling”, Tilly Lloyd from Wellington’s Unity Books was given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the NZ Book Trade Industry Awards last night.

Organised jointly by Booksellers NZ and the Publishers Association of NZ (PANZ), the annual awards ceremony became a Zoom event after the original ceremony scheduled for 22 August became a victim of Auckland’s shift to Covid Alert Level 3.

Chair of Booksellers NZ, Juliet Blyth, said (while co-hosting the event with PANZ president Julia Marshall) that typically the Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to booksellers and publishers in alternating years which would normally mean that this year’s recipient would be from the publishing world:

“However, nothing is predictable in 2020, and there was a bookseller whose timing dictated the need to recognise – we’re sure you’ll understand. This bookseller will be familiar to most of you. She is as much a national icon of bookselling as it is possible to get. Before bookselling she tried her hand at psychiatric nursing, women’s health, taxi driving, and radio. In 1984 she entered bookselling when asked to run the now defunct Wellington Women’s Bookshop. Giving her a well-rounded career in books, she has spent time as a publisher’s rep, for Century Hutchison, and as a hardcover rep for Penguin. And then came Unity. She came on board as a buyer, then became manager, and later part owner.

A nurturer of writers and publishers across the country, the owner of the coolest blue ankle boots in the trade, champion and friend to all booksellers, known for her humility and wit, the face of Unity Books, and now Director and shop girl.”

A surprised Lloyd, who is retiring as manager of Unity Wellington, accepted the award alongside her colleagues suggesting that “that seems a bit premature.”