A debut novel translated from French is among the six titles shortlisted for the inaugural Waterstones Book of the Year.
Laurent Binet's HHhH, published in translation by Harvill Secker, is one of only two novels included on the shortlist, announced today (30th October). Also shortlisted is the Man Booker Prize-winning Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate).
The remaining titles are all non-fiction: Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper (John Murray); The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton); On The Map: Why The World Looks The Way It Does by Simon Garfield (Profile Books); and Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts) by Russell Norman (Bloomsbury Publishing).
The winning title will be promoted in Waterstones stores in the month of December as The Book of the Year, with the chain bookseller's managing director James Daunt heading up the judging panel to select it.
Binet's novel tells the story of Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during the Second World War. Its title refers to "Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich" ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich"), a quip about Heydrich said to have circulated in Nazi Germany. It was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman.
Daunt said: "In an extremely strong year of publishing, we have an exceptional shortlist for our Book of the Year. They have such singular attributes, it will be fascinating to see which emerges the winner."
The books on the shortlist have not been put forward by publishers. Instead, all Waterstones booksellers were invited to nominate the new book that they thought deserved the Book of the Year title and that they wanted to help more people discover. They were asked to choose a book that stood out in its field, and that would speak to the company's core customers defined as "those people who love reading and love books."
The winner will be announced on Thursday 29th November at the Waterstones Christmas Party, which will take place at the bookseller's King¹s Road shop in Chelsea (London). As well as the support of the entire Waterstones business, the winning author will also receive a case of champagne.
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