The British Book Awards' Books of the Year shortlists revealed

The British Book Awards' Books of the Year shortlists revealed

All eight shortlists for The British Book Awards' Books of the Year have been announced, with a strong focus on international writers including Michelle Obama, Michael Wolff, Sally Rooney and Leila Slimani.

The Nibbies, the annual showcase of the British book industry’s very best, was revealed today (22st March), with six authors competing in each Books of the Year category. Names range from David Walliams, Jojo Moyes and Ian Rankin to newcomers Heather Morris, Stuart Turton and Ruth Jones. Controversial writer A. J. Finn, better known to the publishing industry as Dan Mallory, is also battling it out with a host of others.

In Fiction, Man Booker winner Anna Burns is in the running for Milkman (Faber & Faber). She takes on Transcription by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday) which was the second bestselling hardback literary novel of 2018 and huge hit Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Michael Joseph). Sally Rooney, nominated for her debut last year, is back with Normal People (Faber & Faber) while historical blockbuster Tombland by C. J. Sansom (Mantle) and comedy Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims (HarperFiction) also go head-to-head.

A diverse group of newcomers do battle in the Debut category, with runaway hit The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Zaffre) joining the shortlist. Last year’s bestselling literary debut, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker), is also in competition alongside Never Greener by actor and screenwriter Ruth Jones (Bantam Press). They are joined by Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce (Picador), which sparked a seven-way battle for its acquisition, “French Gone Girl” Lullaby by Leila Slimani (Faber & Faber) and Costa First Novel Award winning hit The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Raven Books).

  

Over in the world of Crime & Thriller category, The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (HarperFiction) makes the shortlist after selling around two million copies worldwide last year. Macbeth by Jo Nesbo (Hogarth), a reimagining of the Shakespeare play, and veteran Ian Rankin’s latest John Rebus thriller In a House of Lies (Orion) also make an appearance. Our House by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster), The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Pan) and Close to Home by Cara Hunter (Viking/Penguin Paperbacks) are all in the running.

For Children’s Fiction the bestselling title of 2018, The Ice Monster by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins Children’s Books) is on the shortlist along with My Mum Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Doubleday). Fantasy Young Adult debut Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Macmillan Children’s Books) also competes with The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Melissa Castrillo and Elisa Paganelli (Usborne), her publisher’s biggest seller of 2018. Comedian David Baddiel is nominated for fifth book Head Kid, illustrated by Steve Lenton (HarperCollins Children’s Books), which helped cement his place as a children’s fiction brand, while Hilary McKay’s Costa Children’s Book of the Year Award-winning First World War tale The Skylarks’ War (Macmillan Children’s Books) completes the list.

  

In the Children’s Illustrated & Non-Fiction category, story collection Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different by Ben Brooks, illustrated by Quinton Winter (Quercus), joins a list including Politics for Beginners by Alex Frith, Rosie Hore and Louie Stowell, illustrated by Kellan Stover (Usborne). They take on Oi Duck Billed Platypus! by Kes Grey and Jim Field, illustrated by Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books), Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury Children’s Books), You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed, illustrated by Toby Triumph (Wren & Rook) and I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Nosy Crow).

Cookery books compete with feminism and the power of a good brain-teaser in the Non-Fiction: Lifestyle shortlist. Vegan hit Bosh! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HQ) will be competing with easy recipe collection Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi and Tara Wigley (Ebury Press) and healthy eating blockbuster Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge (Absolute Press). Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene (4th Estate) is nominated for providing a bold conversation-starter, while rallying call to women everywhere Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) curated by Scarlett Curtis (Penguin) gets a nod. After cleaning-up the Christmas grown-up stocking-filler, The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book by Ordnance Survey (Trapeze) completes the list.

  

In the Non-Fiction: Narrative category, White House inside story Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (Little, Brown) takes on soaraway sensation Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking). Everything I Know About Love by journalist and podcaster Dolly Alderton (Fig Tree) is included with Ant Middleton also nominated for his mix of derring-do and self-help First Man In: Leading From the Front (HarperNonFiction). Two books that gave the public insights into very different professions finish the shortlist with The Secret Barrister by The Secret Barrister (Picador) and The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson (Chatto & Windus).

Three titles make their second appearance in this year’s nominations for their audiobook versions. Milkman, narrated by Brid Brennan (Faber & Faber), First Man In: Leading From The Front, narrated by author Ant Middleton (HarperNonFiction) and Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin) are all up for the Audiobook award. Joy Ellis' Their Lost Daughters, narrated by Richard Armitage (Audible Studios), Robert Galbraith's Lethal White, narrated by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio) and Stephen Hawking's Brief Answers to the Big Questions, narrated by Ben Wishaw (John Murray) are also in the hunt.

  

The British Book Awards, known as the Nibbies, honour and celebrate the commercial successes of publishers, authors and bookshops. Organised by The Bookseller, they culminate in a gala ceremony presented by Lauren Laverne at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 13th May.

The category winners will be decided by eight separate judging panels, with judges including acclaimed illustrator Axel Scheffler, star food critic Jay Rayner and Adam Kay, author of the multi-award-winning bestseller This is Going to Hurt. A separate panel will go on to choose the overall Book of the Year, where the Labour MP Jess Phillips is judging alongside Sky News presenter Kay Burley

Philip Jones, chair of the judges and editor of The Bookseller, said: “The shortlists this year showcase the breadth of talent available to publishers in the UK, after a year in which international writers such as Leila Slimani, Heather Morris, Sally Rooney and Tomi Adeyemi have shown that there is a real hunger for stories, well-told, that originate elsewhere but reflect back on us. The sales success of these titles, along with non-fiction hits such as Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Michael Wolff’s Trump era exposé, Fire and Fury, and Feminists Don’t Wear Pink, demonstrate that today books sit at the intersection between culture and politics, and between entertainment and reality.”

The Book of the Year shortlists:

Fiction

Transcription by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday)

Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber)

Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Michael Joseph)

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)

Tombland by C. J. Sansom (Mantle)

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims (HarperFiction)

 

Fiction: Debut

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker)

Never Greener by Ruth Jones (Bantam Press)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Zaffre)

Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce (Picador)

Lullaby by Leila Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor (Faber & Faber)

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Raven Books)

 

Crime & Thriller

Our House by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster)

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (HarperFiction)

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (Pan)

Close to Home by Cara Hunter (Viking/Penguin Paperbacks)

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo (Hogarth)

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin (Orion)

 

Children’s Fiction

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Macmillan Children’s Books)

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson; illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, cover by Melissa Castrillo (Usborne)

Head Kid by David Baddiel; illustrated by Steven Lenton (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay (Macmillan Children’s Books)

The Ice Monster by David Walliams; illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

My Mum Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson; illustrated by Nick Sharratt | (Doubleday)

 

Children’s Illustrated & Non-Fiction

Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different by Ben Brooks, illustrated by Quinton Winter (Quercus)

Politics for Beginners by Alex Frith, Rosie Hore, Louie Stowell, illustrated by Kellan Stover (Usborne)

Oi Duck Billed Platypus! by Kes Grey and Jim Field, illustrated by Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books)

Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed, illustrated by Toby Triumph (Wren & Rook)

I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Nosy Crow)

 

Non-fiction: Lifestyle

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene (4th Estate)

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) by Curated by Scarlett Curtis (Penguin)

Bosh! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HQ)

Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge (Absolute Press)

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi and Tara Wigley (Ebury Press)

The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book by Ordnance Survey (Trapeze)

 

Non-fiction: Narrative

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (Fig Tree)

First Man In: Leading From the Front by Ant Middleton (HarperNonFiction)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Viking)

The Secret Barrister by The Secret Barrister (Picador)

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson (Chatto & Windus)

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (Little, Brown)

 

Audiobook

Milkman, narrated by Brid Brennan by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber)

Their Lost Daughters, narrated by Richard Armitage by Joy Ellis (Audible Studios)

Lethal White, narrated by Robert Glenister by Robert Galbraith (Hachette Audio)

Brief Answers to the Big Questions, narrated by Ben Wishaw by Stephen Hawking (John Murray)

First Man In: Leading From The Front, narrated by Ant Middleton by Ant Middleton (HarperNonFiction)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin)