Blackwell's has revealed its contenders for its 2020 Book of the Year, featuring two titles published by indie presses Knights Of and Influx.
Booksellers voted for titles across four categories: fiction, non-fiction, children's and debut.
Naoirse Dolan's Exciting Times (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) won the debut category and A Kind of Spark (Knights Of) by Elle McNicoll was listed as children's pick, while fellow indie Influx's title Boy Parts by Eliza Clark scooped fiction, and Rutger Bregman's Humankind (Bloomsbury) landed non-fiction.
Commenting on her category win, Dolan said: "I love Blackwell's and even edited parts of Exciting Times in the Broad Street cafe during my time at Oxford, so this is a huge honour. Thank you so much to the booksellers for voting for me! The support means a lot."
"This recognition from Blackwell's is the most incredible Christmas present. I'm humbled and overwhelmed by the booksellers and their support of [central character] Addie," said McNicoll.
Bregman added: "I’m so honoured that my book Humankind is Blackwell’s Non-Fiction Book of the Year. 2020 has been an extraordinary year: both terrifying and hopeful. We’ve seen radical ideas, previously dismissed as unrealistic and unreasonable, move into the mainstream. We’ve witnessed the resilience of booksellers, those who spread the ideas that may be dismissed now, but might change the world tomorrow. It means the world to me that the wonderful people of Blackwell’s have picked my book Humankind as their non-fiction book of the year."
The four titles will now go head-to-head, with Blackwell's booksellers from across the UK choosing the overall Blackwell’s Book of the Year, to be announced on 11th January 2021.
Elif Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World (Viking) was Blackwell’s Book of the Year in 2019.