Comedian Sir Lenny Henry, television presenter Mel Giedroyc, broadcaster Anita Rani, Labour MP David Lammy and author, broadcaster and podcaster Frankie Bridge will join the panel of judges for this year's British Book Awards, along with authors Peter Frankopan, Kate Young, Piers Torday, Ella Risbridger, Christy Lefteri, and one of last year's winners, Oyinkan Braithwaite.
Run by The Bookseller, The British Book Awards (a.k.a. the Nibbies) are a highlight of the literary calendar, with the virtual event to take place on 13th May. The deadline for submissions is this week (5th February), with the shortlists to be announced in March.
Henry will judge the children's fiction award along with children's writer Torday and independent bookseller Katie Clapham. Giedroyc will rule over the fiction contenders alongisde writers Anita Sethi and Hannah Beckerman. Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and Shadow Lord Chancellor, will focus on debut fiction along with last year's shortlisted author Rónán Hessian and Lisa O'Kelly, associate editor for books at the Observer. Broadcaster Rani is to take on narrative non-fiction along with indie bookseller Saber Khan. Bridge, a former member of the girl group S Club 8, will judge the children's illustrated and non-fiction crop along with author Yaba Badoe and former teacher and campaigner Stuart Lawrence. Lefteri will take on audiobook judging along with journalist Rozalind Dineen, and pocdast producer and marketeer Clarissa Pabi. Judging the new Pageturner award are novelist Paula Hawkins, book blogger Anne Cater, and bookseller Jasper Sutcliffe.
Frankopan (The Silk Roads) is joined on the influential overall Book of the Year panel by CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, the Times literary editor Robbie Millen, cookery writer Ella Risbridger (Midnight Chicken), and Kate Skipper, chief operating officer at Waterstones. In the running for the overall honour are the winners of nine Book of the Year awards – Audiobook, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Illustrated, Fiction, Début, Crime & Thriller, Non-fiction Narrative, Non-Fiction Lifestyle and, new this year, Pageturner – each with their own judging panel.
Judges for the trade categories, including the coveted Publisher of the Year, Book Retailer, and Independent Bookshop of the Year, include past executive chair of Booksellers Association Tim Godfray, publisher and writer Margaret Busby OBE, The Book People's co-founder Seni Glaister, writer and founder of the Black Writers' Guild Nels Abbey, Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation, Sandy Mahal, director of Nottingham Unesco City of Literature, and Anwen Hooson, founder of the Bird Literary Agency.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges at the British Book Awards, said: “This is a truly star-studded line-up for the most celebrated event in the literary calendar. We are so grateful to this year’s judges who are giving up their time, energy and expertise in order to help us award and acknowledge the best of the book business. The awards underline the importance of what this industry delivers each year through individual and collective effort, as 2020 saw books once again demonstrate their true worth to readers.”
The British Book Awards are the definitive celebration of the country’s leading creative industry – and a highlight in the literary calendar. This year’s winners will be inaugurated at a virtual ceremony on 13th May, followed by a summer party to celebrate the shortlists, the winners and the wider UK book trade.
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