Evaristo, Shafak and Barr make Indie Book Awards shortlist

Evaristo, Shafak and Barr make Indie Book Awards shortlist

Bernardine Evaristo, Elif Shafak and Damian Barr are among the writers shortlisted by independent booksellers for the Indie Book Awards 2020.

Spanning four categories of fiction, children's fiction, picture book and a new non-fiction prize, the shortlists were announced today (15th May). The winners will be chosen by a panel of indie booksellers, authors and industry influencers and announced on 26th June during Independent Bookshop Week.

In the Fiction category, Evaristo is nominated for her Booker-winning Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton), alongside Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World  (Penguin) and Delia Owen's runaway US hit Where the Crawdads Sing (Corsair). They are up against The Offing by Benjamin Myers (Bloomsbury), You Will Be Safe Here by Barr (Bloomsbury) and Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador).

Barr said: “Every high street needs an indie just as surely as it needs a bank and a post office and a library. Indie booksellers are champions for readers and writers – they can take a book and make it a conversation, because they know their customers. I am delighted to be shortlisted for this award by my heroes.”

In the non-fiction list, Anne Glenconner is nominated for Lady in Waiting (Hodder & Stoughton) alongside War Doctor by David Nott (Picador), The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Black Swan), Extraordinary Insects: Weird. Wonderful. Indispensable. The Ones Who Run Our World by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson (Mudlark), Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem (Bloomsbury) and No Win Race by Derek A Bardowell (Mudlark).

Sverdrup-Thygeson said: “I’d like to thank all the wonderful indie bookshops and booksellers out there – thank you for supporting and promoting us authors, by talking about our books to customers, creating beautiful in-store book displays and arranging unforgettable book events. I am so glad to work with you on this mission of mine: to make more readers learn to love the extraordinary lives of insects!”

The children's shortlist features Toffee by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury), Deeplight by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books), Chinglish: An Almost Entirely True Story by Sue Cheung (Andersen Press), The Star Outside my Window by Onjali Q. Rauf (Orion Children’s Books), The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll (Faber) and The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson (Usborne).

Julia Donaldson & Sharon King-Chai are nominated in the picture book category for Animalphabet (Two Hoots) along with Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker & Zoe Persico (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books), Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton (Walker Books), Alfie on Holiday by Shirley Hughes (Puffin Books), I’m Sticking With You by Smriti Halls and Steve Small (Simon & Schuster), and Franklin and Luna Go To The Moon by Jen Campbell, illustrated by Katie Harnett (Thames & Hudson).

 Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the Booksellers Association, said: “Many of us have found comfort, distraction and reassurance in books in these recent difficult times. Independent booksellers of the UK and Ireland excel at recommending the perfect titles for readers, and we are so lucky to have them. The Indie Book Awards are great for discovering new titles and books you might have missed previously because they have been voted for by booksellers, and no one knows good books better than them. I can’t wait to get my hands on this year’s shortlist and get reading.”