Winner - Queenie
Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie was the standout début in a strong year for the category—and elsewhere, winning the Overall Book of the Year too. “A cultural event… a fabulous, fresh voice… genre-defining” was the verdict from the judges. Written as a result of not seeing anything similar in the market, former publishing staffer and Bookseller Rising Star Carty-Williams tackled the important and weighty issues of race, class, misogyny, identity and family with sensitivity, lightness and humour in Queenie. Thought of not only as a “great story of our time” by the judges, the novel also introduced a “hugely exciting new voice” for contemporary fiction.
Trapeze recognised the impact this book could have early on and set out to create an “unmissable” marketing campaign with early super proofs, a word-of-mouth campaign and four different-coloured covers. Huge retailer support resulted in a fifth cover of the book being released, solely for sale in Waterstones. The coherent marketing and publicity strategy was dubbed “a masterclass in how to launch a début author” by the judges.
As well as winning two British Book Awards, Queenie was also shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and Waterstones Book of the Year in 2019.
Fleishman Is in TroubleTaffy Brodesser-Akner (Wildfire)
QueenieCandice Carty-Williams (Trapeze)
The BindingBridget Collins (The Borough Press)
The Confessions of Frannie LangtonSara Collins (Viking)
The FamiliarsStacey Halls (Zaffre)
Leonard and Hungry PaulRónán Hession (Bluemoose Books)