Flood of applications for Maldives bookselling post

News - Bookselling Thursday, 30 August 2018

International interest as story of Ultimate Library position goes viral

"Possibly the best job in the world" is getting a response to match. Well over a thousand applicants have expressed interest in running a pop-up bookshop in the Maldives since BookBrunch ran a story about the vacancy on 16 August.

The Ultimate Library, which provides specially curated book collections for hotels and other clients, is advertising for a desert island bookseller and blogger on Soneva Fushi, described as "the original desert island hideaway resort and the ultimate in barefoot luxury with an eco twist... frequented by the discreet super-rich, A-list celebrities, and their families". The firm's bookshop, stocking about 300 titles, will open there in early October.

The successful candidate or candidates (it is likely that two people will share the role, each taking a three-month shift) will need "a passion for books and the ability to engage guests of all ages; an ability to write an entertaining and lively blog that captures the exhausting life of a desert island bookseller; be a children's entertainer/storyteller (they have the world's best kids' club); maybe host creative writing workshops and an ability to fit in with the distinctive Soneva culture".

BookBrunch caught up with Ultimate Library Founder Philip Blackwell as he himself was enjoying an adventure, on a sailing boat "somewhere between Morocco and Gibraltar". He reported that the firm's advertisement and BookBrunch story had generated "a tsunami of responses, from Moscow, Milan, Mumbai, and even the Maldives", just to list some of the "M's". That morning, there had been a rash of Portuguese applications; for a few days last week, the majority came from Italy.

The applicants have included business psychologists, TV and radio journalists, IT managers, a member of the White House press team, authors, and even the odd bookseller. Blackwell said that the Ultimate Library was sifting out "the chancers and the wildly over-qualified", and was confident of finding someone with the key skill of "bringing literature to life".

Possibly the best job in the world?

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