The Barefoot Bookseller


In 2018, Ultimate Library teamed up with luxury resort, Soneva Fushi to bring the first ever pop-up bookshop to the Maldives. Two years and five Barefoot Booksellers later, there is now a second bookshop at Soneva Jani and a duo team of Barefoot Booksellers heading out for 2020/21.

Our search for the Barefoot Booksellers has sparked the imagination of the world over the last two years, and proved that in uncertain times, the dream of a residency among books, sea, and sand is still universally appealing.


For the project's first year, we received hundreds of applications from all corners of the world, and finally chose two lucky candidates to leave their lives behind for three months and help run our desert island bookshop. Our first Barefoot Bookseller, Hugo Wilson, started the journey in October 2018 and passed the baton on to Aimee Johnson from Penguin Random House, Ireland in January 2019. In Winter 2019, publishing, marketing and publicity expert Chrissy Ryan landed in the beach-side bookshop for a five month stint of book-selling in paradise.

Turning the page to 2020...

These were just the first chapters in what we hope will become an epic saga. With hundreds of applications this year, it was a tough application process but we finally managed to choose not one but two perfect candidates. We have re-opened the doors of the Barefoot Bookshop at Soneva Fushi for the third year running and also launched our new bookshop at Soneva Jani for the very first time.


Our new Barefoot Booksellers are Aislinn Shivakumar and Alice Spencer and are in place at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani armed with hundreds of books and bursting with recommendations to entertain, inspire and enlighten.

Check out Alice and Aislinn's blog posts, Instagram page, or subscribe, to live vicariously through them and follow their amazing adventures in paradise.

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