The British Book Awards 2018 has launched with the introduction of two new awards for individuals, Author of the Year and Illustrator of the Year, as well as a new category for audiobooks. The ceremony will take place on 14th May 2018 at Grosvenor House, London, with awards for publishers, agents, authors and booksellers, and submissions are now open.
Speaking about the additions, Nigel Roby, chief executive of The Bookseller, said: “Every year we try and make sure that The British Book Awards celebrates the achievements of what is the UK’s leading creative industry—in all its facets. These additions enable us to recognise the creativity from the audio part of the market, which is showing such significant growth, and to honour the individuals who are at the heart of the book trade.”
The Author of the Year will be chosen from a field of nominees put forward by publishers. As well as sales success, the judges will be looking to see an author’s support for the wider book trade. The Illustrator of the Year has been added to recognise the often-overlooked contribution of illustrators to a book’s sales success.
Roby said: “The British Book Awards are about recognising all the elements that contribute to a healthy book trade and, underpinning everything, that more books reach more readers. Having a specific award for Author of the Year clearly makes absolute sense and publishers have been enthusiastic in their support for its introduction. Similarly, illustrators are a vital part of expanding book readership, especially among young readers, and should be recognised officially.”
The introduction of a standalone award for illustrators for the first time has also been welcomed. Illustrator/writer Sarah McIntyre, who set up the campaign #PicturesMeansBusiness to advocate for illustrator recognition, said: “The focus of the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign is encouraging people to recognise illustrators as vital contributors to the UK economy: illustrators pull in sales and punch right up there with writers in terms of getting people to buy books. Until it’s possible for people to do automatic data searches for illustrator sales figures—and hopefully that will come soon—awards like this are important in profiling some of our most valuable industry figures and helping further establish their names as lucrative brands.”
The addition of AudioBook of the Year, sponsored by Audible, recognises the growth of the audiobook format, and follows on from The Bookseller’s successful audiobook conference, AudioBook Revolution, which took place as part of FutureBook 2017. Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “The AudioBook of the Year prize will enable us to showcase the brilliant work done by narrators and publishers of audiobooks at a pivotal movement for the format.”
Alongside trade accolades such as Publisher of the Year and Book Retailer of the Year, The British Book Awards will now have seven individual books of the year: Children’s; Début Fiction; Fiction; Crime & Thriller; Non-fiction: Lifestyle; Non-fiction: Narrative; and AudioBook. An overall Book of the Year is chosen from the winners of those awards.
The Nibbies were launched in 1990 by Fred Newman, founder of Publishing News, and taken over by The Bookseller in 2017. There have been many notable winners over the years: Faber was the first Publisher of the Year in 1990; in 2017 the award went to Pan Macmillan. J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Bloomsbury) scooped Book of the Year in 2006. In 2017, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail) took that overall honour. Entry details for all of the awards can be found here. Early bird bookings are also available through the website.