British Book Awards 2020: Books of the Year shortlists revealed

British Book Awards 2020: Books of the Year shortlists revealed

The eight shortlists for the British Book Awards have been revealed with heavyweights Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo, Philip Pullman and David Walliams all in the running for the Book of the Year accolades. 

The Nibbies, the annual showcase of the best of the British book industry, will see established authors compete with breakthrough talent for the hotly-contested awards at this year’s ceremony on 29th June. 

Fiction Book of the Year will see joint Man Booker-winners Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton) by Bernardine Evaristo and The Testaments (Chatto) by Margaret Atwood go head to head once again. Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth (David Fickling Books in association with PRH) and The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (MJ) are also in the running alongside Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris (Bonnier Books UK) and Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks (HQ).

Atwood scores a further two nominations, with The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments (both Penguin Random House) shortlisted for Audiobook of the Year and Pullman also secures a nod for The Secret Commonwealth. They face competition from Louis Theroux's autobiography, Gotta Get Theroux This (Macmillan), The Body by Bill Bryson (Audible), My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (W F Howes) and The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray (Bloomsbury) and The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (Bonnier).

Elton John’s autobiography Me will compete with Pan Macmillan stablemate Adam Kay’s Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas and Lady Anne Glenconner’s Lady in Waiting (Hodder) for the Non-Fiction: Narrative Book of the Year trophy. They face competition from Bill Bryson's The Body (Doubleday), Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez (Vintage) and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury). 

Instagram cleaning guru Sophie Hinchcliffe’s Hinch Yourself Happy sits alongside Charlie Mackesy’s New York Times bestseller The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse and The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry (Penguin Random House)  while Jamie Oliver's Veg (Michael Joseph) faces newcomers Shamil and Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir with the first cookbook from their beloved Bombay café chain, Dishoom and Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone (Pan Macmillan) in Non-Fiction: Lifestyle. 

Crime & Thriller Book of the Year will see debut novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite, who scores her second Nibbies nomination with her LA Times Book Prize-winning My Sister the Serial Killer (Atlantic Books) and Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party (HarperCollins) challenge queen of crime Val McDermid, with L J Ross, Alex Michaelides and last year’s Author of the Year Lee Child also in the running.  

In Children’s Fiction, David Walliams’ The Beast of Buckingham Palace (HarperCollins, illustrated by Tony Ross) is up against The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury) and Onjali Q Raúf's The Star Outside My Window (Orion Children's Books), with titles by Holly Jackson, Michelle Harrison and Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton also in the mix. 

Writer, podcaster, author and mental health champion Bryony Gordon's You Got This (Hachette Children's Group) is up for Children’s Non-Fiction & Illustrated, alongside The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Scholastic UK). Books by Alice Oseman, Sabina Radeva, Tim Marshall, Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola have also been recognised. 

Women’s Prize for Fiction longlistees Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze) and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Wildfire) are up for Début Book of the Year. They will go head to head with The Binding by Bridget Collins (The Borough Press), The Familiars by Stacey Halls (Zaffre), Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession (Bluemoose) and The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking).

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges at the British Book Awards, said: "This year’s varied and diverse crop of shortlisted titles show publishing at its absolute best, launching debuts, building brands, seeking out new audiences and, perhaps most importantly, driving sales. The year was undoubtedly led by non-fiction behemoths such as Pinch of Nom, Mrs Hinch, and Elton John, along with big brand authors such as David Walliams, Philip Pullman, and Margaret Atwood, but beneath these mega-sellers there was some quieter triumphs, Queenie becoming a remarkable breakthrough hit for its publisher Orion, the superlative debuts Fleishman is in Trouble, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, My Sister the Serial Killer, and of course, the huge surprise of the year The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. I won’t pretend that we are not in a tough spot right now, but these shortlists indicate a bright future for many authors, as well as the sector in general."

The eight Book of the Year winners will be decided by separate panels, with judges including star food critic Jay Rayner, author and broadcaster Lloyd Grossman and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, head of editorial at gal-dem. 

A separate panel will go on to choose the overall Book of the Year, where The High Low podcast co-host Pandora Sykes is judging alongside TLS editor Stig Abell and former MP Luciana Berger. 

 

Books of the Year – The 2020 shortlists in full 

Fiction Book of the Year

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto)

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books and PRH) 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (MJ) 

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton) 

Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks (HQ) 

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris (Bonnier Books UK)

 

Debut Book of the Year

The Binding by Bridget Collins (The Borough Press) 

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze) 

The Familiars by Stacey Halls (Bonnier Books UK) 

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Wildfire) 

Leonard & Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession (Bluemoose) 

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking)

 

Crime & Thriller Book of the Year

How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid (Little, Brown) 

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (HarperCollins) 

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic Books) 

Imposter by L J Ross (Dark Skies Publishing) 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (The Orion Publishing Group) 

Blue Moon by Lee Child (Transworld)

 

Children’s Fiction Book of the Year

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (Egmont) 

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison (Simon & Schuster) 

The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan) 

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury) 

The Beast of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams & Tony Ross (Harper Collins) 

The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf (Orion Children’s Books)

 

Children’s Illustrated & Non-fiction Book of the Year

You Got This by Bryony Gordon (Hachette Children’s Group) 

Heartstopper: Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman (Hachette Children’s Group) 

On the Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva (Penguin Random House Children’s) 

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall, illustrated by Grace Easton and Jessica Smith (Elliott & Thompson and Simon & Schuster Children's UK) 

Look Up! By Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola (Penguin Random House Children’s) 

The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Scholastic UK)

 

Non-fiction: Lifestyle Book of the Year

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone (Pan Macmillan) 

Veg by Jamie Oliver (Michael Joseph) 

Hinch Yourself Happy by Sophie Hinchcliffe (Michael Joseph) 

Dishoom by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, Naved Nasir (Bloomsbury) 

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry (Penguin Random House) 

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Ebury)

 

Non-fiction: Narrative Book of the Year

Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner (Hodder & Stoughton) 

Me by Elton John (Pan Macmillan) 

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay (Pan Macmillan) 

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez (Vintage) 

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury)

The Body by Bill Bryson (Doubleday)

 

Audiobook Book of the Year

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House) 

Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux (Macmillan) 

The Body by Bill Bryson (Audible) 

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (W.F. Howes) 

The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray (Bloomsbury) 

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (Bonnier Books UK) 

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House) 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House)