This year’s fiction shortlist features the full range of publishers: from smaller indies to big-brand imprints. The titles in this category showcase the mass-market success of fiction titles published in a year that was overshadowed by lockdown and the closure of bricks-and-mortar bookshops: all of the titles were backed by reactive online campaigns, which resulted in commercial success across the board.
Published almost 20 years to the day after her début After You’d Gone, Maggie O’Farrell’s first historical novel Hamnet blew away the judges; “nothing short of phenomenal”, they agreed.
When lockdown hit, the Tinder Press team remained stead- fast with its schedule and moved the campaign online at the eleventh hour, cancelling a 37-event tour and pivoting to secure more print and broadcast media. The team moved quickly to position the novel as the perfect escape from the realities of lockdown, and used a significant word-of-mouth campaign to gain traction. The team’s efforts saw them receive a nod for Publicity Campaign of the Year too.
O’Farrell’s imagining of the lives of Shakespeare’s wife and child won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, received an impressive 12 picks in newspapers’ Maggie O’Farrellbooks of the year round-ups, and was named Waterstones Book of the Year. tinder press Among the slew of wins, our judges praised the publisher’s ability to remain focused on booksellers and readers.
The Vanishing Half by Brit BennettDialogue
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena FerranteEuropa Editions
The Evening and the Morning by Ken FollettMacmillan
The Midnight Library by Matt HaigCanongate
The Mirror and The Light by Hilary MantelFourth Estate
Hamnet by Maggie O'FarrellTinder Press