Johnson and Millwood Hargrave battle it out for Blackwell's Book of the Year

Johnson and Millwood Hargrave battle it out for Blackwell's Book of the Year

Daisy Johnson’s Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Everything Under (Jonathan Cape) is up for Blackwell’s Book of the Year along with The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House).

Jonathan Cape has a double-whammy on the four-strong shortlist with Brit(ish) by social affairs editor for Sky News Afua Hirsch selected from non-fiction, as well as former Blackwell’s bookseller Johnson’s Everything Under as the fiction pick. Meanwhile Asymmetry by American writer Lisa Halliday (Granta), reportedly inspired by the Halliday's former relationship with Philip Roth, represents the debut category. Oxford author Millwood Hargrave’s The Way Past Winter is the top pick from the children’s and young adult category vying for the prize.

The four titles were whittled down following a vote by all the company’s booksellers and will now be promoted in shops and online throughout Christmas and 2019. The overall winner will be chosen from the four category winners in a vote by all Blackwell’s booksellers in November and announced on 4th December.

Blackwell’s sales and marketing director Dean Drew said: “Blackwell’s Book of the Year is gaining in stature as an important shop window for author talent and also as a showcase for our booksellers who are at the heart of everything we do as a growing independent business.”

Last year’s overall winner Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo (Particular Books) experienced a significant sales and awareness boost as a result, the retailer said. According to Nielsen BookScan, the book increased 13% in volume that week to 18,686 copies sold, but jumped a further 59% the week after.

Johnson worked in Blackwell’s Oxford store in Broad Street until she landed a two-book deal with Cape in 2015. She became the youngest ever author to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in September.