Blackwell’s has named its Book of the Year as the "inspirational" Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (Particular Books) by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.
Starting out as a Kickstarter campaign in April 2016, the book features the stories of 100 women spanning from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams including illustrations from 60 artists across the world. Blackwell's booksellers voted for the title to win the prize and described it as having “wonderful stories” and being “beautifully illustrated”.
The “truly inspirational set of biographies”, published by the Penguin Random House imprint Particular Books will now form a centre-piece in Blackwell’s stores around similar inspirational books to accompany the retailer’s ‘Vote 100 campaign’ early next year, to celebrate the centenary the Representation of the People Act which gave gave women of property over the age of 30 the right to vote.
It beat off competition from the other category winners: Arundhati Roy’s long-awaited The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Hamish Hamilton) in the fiction section, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury) by award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge in non-fiction and medical memoir This Is Going to Hurt (Picador) by Adam Kay in the debut category.
Katharine Fry, trade buying manager at Blackwell’s, who organises the Book of the Year prize, revealed Good Night Stories was her “personal favourite”. She said: “We plan to promote the book in all our shops and use it a centre-piece for similar inspirational books and events including Blackwell’s vote 100 campaign in the New Year (celebrating the act that gave women the vote for the first time). We are all very excited.”
“Booksellers, along with our backers have helped us make Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls a success,” Favilli and Cavallo said. “Just as we took pleasure in spending a day at our favourite bookshop as young girls, we are delighted to hear from young girls and boys who discovered Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls at their local bookshop and will carry its message of determination and rebellion wherever they go.”
The authors said that the stories we have told girls so far have offered them a "very narrow representation of who they can be” as have the illustrations accompanying the stories. They said: “This reflects a lot of self-doubt and the feeling of being constantly wrong, which plagues girls in school first, and later in the workplace. We feel the time has come to start changing the narrative around femininity, this is what Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is about." They discussed the inspirations behind the book with The Bookseller in April and also scooped the Foyles Children's Book of the Year last month.
A number of other publishers are also celebrating the centenary of the Representation of the People Act including children's indie publisher Nosy Crow which will publish "two books celebrating women" early next year.