Books by Ocean Vuong, Lisa Taddeo and Katherine Rundell have triumphed to be named Foyles 2019 Books of the Year.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Vuong (Jonathan Cape) took home the fiction category, as Taddeo's Three Women (Bloomsbury Circus) was named non-fiction book of the year. Katherine Rundell's The Good Thieves (Bloomsbury Children's) was awarded children's book of the year, with special editions of the winning books in the works.
Jasper Sutcliffe, head of buying at Foyles, said: “These are three books that demand the phrase ‘must read’—three books which deserve to be considered classics in their categories. From a year of stand-out publishing, these are books we know we’ll still be thinking about and talking about in years to come, still recommending to our friends and our customers. They’ve moved us, provoked us, inspired us, and changed us, and together we feel they represent not just what great literature can be but some of what it means to be human.”
Foyles now plans to sell an exclusive book of the year edition of Vuong's debut novel, signed and numbered out of 1500, with foiled cover artwork and a two-page facsimile from Vuong’s handwritten notebooks inside.
Gary Powell, web trading manager at Foyles, said: “From the moment we first received copies of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous it became one of the most sought-after and discussed books in the company; we knew it was something special and were ecstatic when it was so well-received by our customers. It’s a searingly tender novel, an at times achingly raw story, in which Vuong masterfully weaves together young love, family traditions, loss, poverty, the Vietnam War and what it means to be American.”
To mark Taddeo's win, Foyles will sell a book of the year edition, signed and numbered out of 1000, with foiled cover artwork, exclusive black endpapers, and golden page edges.
Heather Baker, campaigns manager at Foyles said: “The comparisons with classics of narrative non-fiction are entirely justified: Three Women is thrilling, compulsive, page-turning, devastating, lyrical, substantial, and completely and utterly essential. Taddeo’s conveying of the inner lives of these three American women, and the ways power and sex are inextricably linked, have ensured this genre-defining book has been a massive bestseller loved by readers of all disciplines.”
Foyles will celebrated Rundell's win by selling signed first editions of The Good Thieves with a free exclusive, limited edition pin badge that reads ‘I Read Children’s Books Even Though I Am So Old and Wise’—taken from the title of a short non-fiction book by Rundell also published this year, Why You Should Read Children’s Books Even Though You Are So Old and Wise (Bloomsbury).
Isobel Simpson, area commercial support at Foyles said: “This is middle grade storytelling as it should be: tightly plotted, fast-paced and thoughtful, with a wonderful cast of characters and a real sense of both danger and resolve. The Good Thieves is a fresh take on the heist thriller that speaks to the concerns of young readers today, and is full of the wide-eyed awe and heart you find in many of the classics of children’s literature.”