McCartney's The Lyrics named Waterstones Book of the Year

McCartney's The Lyrics named Waterstones Book of the Year

Paul McCartney’s "magnificent" The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present (Allen Lane) has been named Waterstones Book of the Year for 2021, while Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston's Julia and the Shark (Orion Children's Books) took the Children's Gift of the Year title.

Every year Waterstones booksellers vote for the books they have most enjoyed recommending to their customers, but this year the bookseller said "equally outstanding enthusiasm for two titles" had resulted in the selection of dual winners.

James Daunt, m.d., said: “The Lyrics is stunningly beautiful and a masterpiece of book design, a true joy for bibliophiles. Paul McCartney has fashioned, through the explorations of his songs with the poet Paul Muldoon, a fascinating insight into his life and creative genius. The booksellers of Waterstones are proud to celebrate this magnificent and deeply original book.”

 McCartney said the win was "an amazing honour" adding: "Thanks Waterstones for this prestigious accolade. I’m really happy at the reaction to The Lyrics and to be chosen by the bookselling experts themselves for this is truly overwhelming. All those involved in putting the book together worked really hard and this is a great way for us all to celebrate. Bookshops rule!” 

The Lyrics has sold 23,818 copies in hardback to date via Nielsen BookScan in the UK. 

Florentyna Martin, Waterstones head of children’s, said of Julia and the Shark: “Championed by Waterstones booksellers from the very beginning, Julia’s lyrical quest to find the elusive Greenland shark is an incredible piece of storytelling from Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Exploring powerful topics with warmth and honesty, and paired with Tom de Freston’s immersive artwork, we are elated to share and celebrate this highly creative novel.” 

Millwood Hargrave and de Freston said they were "awed" to receive the award, adding: "We made this story to celebrate the natural world, to celebrate families, and to celebrate curiosity and strangeness. To think of our Greenland shark swimming into so many hands this Christmas is extraordinary. Thank you to each and every one of the booksellers who help our book find its readers.” 

The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 13 books, comprising Julia and the Shark, Kazuo Ishiguro's Booker-longlisted Klara and the Sun (Faber), Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka's You Are A Champion (Macmillan Children's Books), The Appeal by Janice Hallett (Viper), Ariadne by Jennifer Saint (Headline), Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water (Viking), Amy Jeffs’ Storyland (Quercus) and Charlotte Higgins' Greek Myths, illustrated by Chris Ofili (Jonathan Cape).

Around the World in 80 Plants by Jonathan Drori and illustrated by Lucille Clerc (Laurence King) was also on the shortlist, alongside The Amur River by Colin Thubron (Chatto & Windus), British Museum: History of the World in 25 Cities by Tracey Turner and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg (Nosy Crow) and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, (Simon & Schuster).

Last year's winner, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press), saw an uplift in sales of nearly 1,800%, the retailer said, which went on to be a Christmas bestseller.