Donaldson, Sissay and Persaud win at Indie Book Awards

Donaldson, Sissay and Persaud win at Indie Book Awards

Julia Donaldson, Sara Ogilvie, Lemn Sissay (pictured above), Ingrid Persaud and Jasbinder Bilan have won prizes at the Indie Book Awards, held as part of Independent Bookshop Week's celebrations.

Honouring the paperback books of the summer as voted for by independent booksellers, the indie-curated awards celebrate the best reads for the summer. The winners were announced on 25th June on Scala Radio, the official media partner of the Indie Book Awards, with three out of four titles published by independent presses.

Winning in the Fiction category is Love After Love by Persaud (Faber), a "brave and spell-binding" family tale with a Caribbean setting which picked up the 2020 Costa First Novel Award. To celebrate Persaud's win, Faber & Faber has produced a special paperback edition of her book, with bright lime green sprayed edges, available exclusively from independent bookshops.

Meanwhile, Sissay took home the Non-Fiction prize with My Name is Why (Canongate), a "moving, frank and timely" memoir. Bilan was the winner of the Children’s Fiction category for Tamarind and the Star of Ishta (Chicken House), a "richly evocative" tale of hidden identity set in the heart of the spectacular Himalayas, while The Hospital Dog (Macmillan Children’s Books), written by former Children's Laureate Donaldson and illustrated by the award-winning Ogilvie, won the Picture Book award.

The judging panel for the adult categories comprised booksellers Tina Gaisford-Waller of Winstone’s Hunting Raven Books, Saber Khan from Toppings, Bath, Sam Fisher of Burley Fisher Books, Alice Carr from Blackwell’s in Edinburgh and Hachette author Will Dean.

The children’s categories were judged by Nicola Lee of the Lindley Children’s Bookshop, Mariana Mouzinho from Seven Stories, India Chambers at Round Table Books, Gill Edwards from Little Ripon Bookshop and Hachette author Patrice Lawrence.

Gaisford-Waller, chair of the adult judges, said: “Lemn Sissay's moving, but never sentimental, campaigning memoir rose effortlessly to the top spot. Guided by his case notes and his own recollections, Lemn pieces together the story of his life in care. The result is an unflinching account of the system and the people who failed him in so very many ways. As one judge so brilliantly put it, ‘My Name Is Why is exquisite, shocking, powerful and beautiful — and Lemn Sissay is an absolute treasure'."

Edwards, who chaired the children’s panel, said: “The panel loved The Hospital Dog as a story of friendship and canine kindness. The more we talked about it, the more we all smiled! It became clear that we felt that the book captured the essence of the past year – with children finding warmth and community in challenging moments. The playful rhymes and delightful illustrations make for a winning combination."