Richard George William Pitt Booth (born
September 12 1938in Hay-on-Wye, Wales), is a Welsh bookseller, known for his contribution to the success of Hay-on-Wyeas a centre for second-hand bookselling. He is also the self-proclaimed "King of Hay".
He was educated at
Rugby Schooland the University of Oxford. In 1961, he opened a second-hand bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, in the old fire station, and his example was followed by others, so that by the 1970s Hay had become internationally known as the "Town of Books".
April 1 1977, Richard Booth proclaimed Hay an "independent kingdom" with himself as king "Richard Cœur de Livre" and his horse as Prime Minister. The publicity stunt gained extensive news coverage, and resulted in several spin-offs such as "passports" being issued.
On April 1, 2000, Booth followed up with an investiture of "The Hay House of Lords" and created 21 new hereditary peers for the "Kingdom of Hay".
The Hay Literary Festival was another spin-off from the burgeoning number of bookshops in the town, which now gets an estimated 500,000 tourists a year. In recognition of his services to tourism, Richard Booth was awarded the MBE in the 2004 New Year's Honours List. In August 2005, Richard Booth announced that he was selling his Hay bookshop and moving to Germany.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/halloffame/arts/richard_booth.shtml BBC Arts]
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