Could you be the next barefoot bookseller on a private island retreat?

By Anna Brech

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A dream vacancy offers booklovers the chance to share their passion on a private island on the Baa Atoll

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this.

You awake in the morning not to the squall of your alarm clock, but the gentle sway of the sea on your private island hideaway. Instead of psyching yourself up for a sweaty commute, you cycle along a sandy walkway and take your perch in a wooden beach shack that passes as your office.

And rather than hack your way through a mountain of emails, your task for the day lies in reading all your favourite books and sharing recommendations with your fellow wanderers.

That it is the fantasy proposition that lies in wait for anyone lucky enough to land the position of Barefoot Bookseller at the five-star Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives. Now in its second year, this dreamy gig is the brainchild of London-based book curators the Ultimate Library, who’ve teamed up with Sovena to offer a once-in-the-lifetime vacancy on one of the thirteen inhabited islands on the Baa Atoll.

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The job involves running a pop-up bookshop for the luxury haven, which specialises in providing a castaway-style experience to its guests. Ideal candidates will have a passion for reading (both modern literature and classics) that’ll translate into an ability to give book ideas to resident islanders, as well as hosting the occasional lecture and creative writing workshop.

Whoever scores this coveted six-month contract will also run social media accounts for the Barefoot Bookseller and blog about the experience. Excellent written and verbal skills are a must, and the team are also looking for “a self-starter with a sense of fun and creativity”.

As for perks, a glimpse at the experience of last year’s recruits hints at many delights to come. In their blogs, Barefoot Booksellers from the 2018-19 season describe a life filled with champagne swimming, cinema under the stars and even chocolate-literature pairings.

Even the launch of the bookshop, traditionally a taxing time in business, sounds like something out of a film; marked as it was by a cocktail party of “Sangria with diced fruit, wine and Prosecco”.

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“I’m in party mode,” says then-bookseller Hugo Wilson. “[…] I’m relying on the old maxim, ‘What would F. Scott do?’ And the answer is, clearly, have another drink.”

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"Less than forty eight hours after arriving on the island, I was leaving. My first two days at Soneva Fushi had been so full of heady wonder and instruction, that when someone told me we’d be having sunset drinks on a sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I didn’t ask any questions. I just got on the boat." . . My first blog post as @UltimateLibrary's new Barefoot Bookseller is now live! Link in bio if you'd like to read more . . ?: @julesandbeyond . . #bookstagram #instabook #igreads #bibliophile #bookshop #bookshopsofinstagram #maldivesinsider #travel @discoversoneva #sonevafushi #bookworm #travelblog #islandlife #maldive #maldives #sea #maldivesislands #photography #paradise #bookrecommendation #bookreview #culturetripbooks #currentlyreading #sandbank #igtravel

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Indeed, life on Soneva Fushi is so divided from reality that its hosts and guests live by the mantra, “no news, no shoes”. This is all about unplugging in an area of extraordinary beauty, whether you’re eco-surfing in a deep blue lagoon, picnicking on a remote sandback or snorkelling with manta rays.

Sound tempting? Apply for the job of Barefoot Bookseller right here by September 1st, and bring on those hazy hammock views. Those mango smoothies won’t drink themselves…

Main image: Dan Dumitriu on Unsplash

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