West wins Bert’s Books Book of the Year tournament

West wins Bert’s Books Book of the Year tournament

A J West has won the Bert’s Books Book of the Year tournament (a.k.a. The Berties) with his book The Spirit Engineer (Duckworth).

Customers on the Bert’s Books Twitter page have been choosing their winner from a list of 32 books since the beginning of November. The Spirit Engineer came out top, narrowly beating Frances Quinn’s The Smallest Man (Simon and Schuster). More than 12,000 votes were cast across six rounds of voting.

Alex Call, founder of Bert's Books said: "With so many wonderful books out in 2021, it was always going to be hard to choose the winner — which is why I let my customers do it for me! I’m so pleased that two debut authors managed to get to the final, showing that the love for new and undiscovered writers can be epic. The Spirit Engineer is a worthy winner and a brilliant ghost story — the perfect present for readers to find under their tree this Christmas."

West said: "I'm blown away by the love and support The Spirit Engineer has received. This book has lived with me now for three years of tireless research and writing and I could never have believed it would reach so many readers. When I started working on the story, I didn't believe in spirits but I can't help but wonder if Kathleen and William are watching us now, amazed that their very strange true story has returned to popular imagination. If they are, I hope they're a proud as I am. Thank you to Bert's Books for championing new authors and I share this award with my illustrator Andy Goff, my social media publicist Vic, my editor at Duckworth Books Matt Casbourne and my agent David Headley."

West wins a Bert’s Books engraved trophy and customers can purchase a copy of The Spirit Engineer and receive double Bert Points throughout December.