Margaret Atwood’s Booker-winning The Testaments (Vintage) is vying with offerings from Max Porter, Greta Thunberg and Candice Carty-Williams in a bumper shortlist for Waterstones Book of the Year.
Recently crowned joint Booker winner Atwood is shortlisted for her sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments (Vintage). Meanwhile Former Vintage staffer Carty-Williams has been recognised for her debut novel Queenie (Orion) and ex-Granta publisher Porter has clinched a shortlisting for his second book, Lanny (Faber), which was also longlisted for the Booker.
This year’s 11-strong shortlist – up from eight in 2018 - in also features a novel about supernatural books, The Binding, by Bridget Collins (HarperCollins), and the sole cookery entry comes from Dishoom (Bloomsbury) by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir. Nature writer Robert Macfarlane’s exploration of landscape mapping and humanity in Underland (Penguin) is also in the running. Illustrated fable The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Ebury) by Charlie Mackesy is also recognised.
Three children’s titles have been given the nod, including a rediscovered classic from 1932 written by 12-year-old Barbara Newhall-Follett, The House Without Windows, republished by Penguin and paired with illustrations by Jackie Morris. Also recognised is Prisoners Of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps (Elliott & Thompson) by Tim Marshall, illustrated by Grace Easton and Jessica Smith. A reinterpretation of Charles Darwin's classic text, On The Origin Of Species by Sabina Radeva (Penguin), has also been shortlisted.
Finally, environmental campaigner Thurnberg has been shortlisted for her collection of speeches No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference (Penguin).
The shortlist is formed by Waterstones booksellers who nominate a title “title which they find truly outstanding, and in which they have felt the most pride recommending to readers over the preceding twelve months,” the retail chain said. Last year’s prize went to Normal People (Faber) by Sally Rooney.
James Daunt, Waterstones m.d., said: “That we have a shortlist of 11 gives an indication of the nature of the Waterstones Book of the Year. It follows no rule other than that our booksellers must love these books and wish to see them in the hands of more readers. Some years, we can settle on fewer to compete but this year the range and balance of argument was too finely poised. It is a fabulous list.”
The title named Waterstones Book of the Year will receive the full and committed backing of Waterstones shops and booksellers across the UK, as well as support online and through its loyalty card programme, Waterstones Plus, which reaches almost a million readers, the firm said.
The Waterstones Book of the Year 2019 will be chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by Daunt and will be announced on 29th November.