Most book stores consider their booksellers worth their weight in gold. But at Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island, they can honestly say they have certified treasure on their staff. Bookseller and poet John Willson was recently selected as a 2014 Island Treasure by the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council.
The awards, started in 1999, honor excellence in the arts and/or humanities by two individuals each year who have made outstanding contributions in those areas on the Bainbridge Island community. Willson, who has been at EHBC longer than any other employee (or owner) at 23 years, is a widely published poet whose work has been published in numerous literary journals. He is a winner of the Pushcart Prize, and been recognized by numerous organizations, such as the Academy of American Poets, the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, and the Artist Trust of Washington.
Willson has been leading a poetry workshop on the island through the Parks & Recreation District since 1991. At EHBC, he authors and edits the print and electronic newsletters, oversees the staff picks, and has, along with Ann Combs, run the store’s semi-annual limerick contest.
“We are so fortunate to have John as a long-time member of our team,” said EHBC co-owner Morley Horder. “He is a passionate bookseller with decades of experience, and he’s always ready to share his passion and knowledge with customers and other staff. At heart, John is a poet, and he is a master of his craft.”
Recognizing the talents and commitments of Island Treasures “exemplifies the importance our community gives to creativity, education, and global citizenship,” says Barbara Sacerdote, executive director of BIAHC. In addition to recognition at a March celebration, Willson will receive an unrestricted $4,000 cash prize. He was recently spotted reading Turn Right at Machu Picchu, perhaps contemplating a well deserved adventure outside the book shelves!
Congratulations, John! Thanks to Eagle Harbor Book Company for sharing the great news via email.