Paula Hawkins and Cecelia Ahern were welcomed into the Nielsen Book Hall of Fame last night at the Specsavers Bestseller Awards.
The Girl on the Train author was given the honour after going “triple platinum” by selling over three million copies of the thriller, while Ahern entered the Hall of Fame after selling over two million units of P.S I Love You.
The event, which took place at the May Fair Hotel in London last night (25th January) and was hosted by BBC presenter Mariella Frostrup, attended by authors, publishers, literary agents and other figures from the book trade, also saw Philippa Gregory and Peter James given honorary Platinum awards for selling six million and five million units respectively, while Lee Child and Sophie Kinsella were also given Platinum gongs.
On receiving his honorary Platinum prize, crime writer James thanked his publisher Pan Macmillan and urged the audience to help persuade non-book readers of the joys of reading. “Please, if we take away one thing tonight, help those who have never had it to discover the magic of books,” he said. He also praised the Nielsen Books awards for honouring “the books people actually want to read” as opposed to those thought worthy by “minority, elitist booksellers”. In accepting her honorary platinum prize, Gregory also thanked the award organisers for honouring sales of books, referring to “the difficulty some of us have with the snobbery of the literary elite”. Noting the high number of women receiving prizes for high sales, she added: “Women’s writing is of enormous importance to our industry. It’s so great to see women’s voices really penetrating popular culture and literary culture as well.” She also thanked her publisher Simon & Schuster and editor Suzanne Baboneau for helping with her success.
The Platinum Bestsellers were dominated by children’s books across the night. Jeff Kinney was given one for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and David Walliams for Grandpa’s Great Escape, whilst two Platinum Bestseller Awards were given for Roald Dahl’s Matilda and The Twits. Liz Pichon meanwhile picked up three Silver Awards after three of her titles seold over 250,000 copies, while Tom Fletcher took home two.
Fletcher said: “The Christmasaurus has taken me on such an amazing journey so far and with the movie in development it is so exciting to think that this is only the beginning. Picking up this Silver award for a quarter of a million sales is like the icing on the (Christmas) cake.”
Altogether 36 gongs were given for fiction books, with Maggie O’Farrell and Jill Mansell picking up four silver awards each, while C L Taylor was given two.
Other authors to reach Platinum status included Sir Alex Fergusson for My Autobiography and the Hairy Bikers’ Simon King and Dave Myers for The Hairy Dieters as well as Lee Child for the first in his Jack Reacher series, Killing Floor.
The bestselling title of 2017 was Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients, which picked up a Gold Award, with over half a million copies sold since last August.
Andre Breedt, co-managing director, Nielsen Book, said: “Once again, we’re delighted to host and honour some of the bestselling authors the UK has produced. 2017 was another strong year for the industry, with sales keeping pace with the highs we saw in 2016. It was a year adult fiction continued its resurgence alongside the growing success of the domestic children’s book market and it is great to see so many of those authors here tonight.”
Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, added: “The Specsavers Bestseller Awards, powered by Nielsen, is a wonderful event celebrating the best of the best. It is hugely inspirational to see so many accomplished authors together under one roof, and to be able to champion their achievements. Each and every one of this year’s winners is truly deserving of their accolade. Reading is something that Specsavers is very passionate about, as of course good eyesight plays an essential role in it. We’re delighted to be a part of this important programme for the second year running.”