Barack Obama joins Hilary Mantel and David Walliams on this year’s British Book Awards shortlists, alongside the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, Brit Bennett and Richard Osman, reflecting a year of “turmoil, debate and hope” across the 57 nominated titles.
Among those shortlisted for Fiction Book of the Year are Mantel’s The Mirror and The Light (Fourth Estate), which will go up against Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet (Tinder Press) and Bennett’s The Vanishing Half (Dialogue Books). Dialogue Books is also up for Fiction: Début Book of the Year, with recognition for Paul Mendez’s Rainbow Milk alongside Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts (Fig Tree), Naoise Dolan (Exciting Times, W&N) and Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize-winning Shuggie Bain (Picador), among other first novels.
Moore’s biography Tomorrow will be a Good Day (Michael Joseph) is honoured in the Non-fiction: Narrative Book of the Year category, alongside Obama’s presidential memoir A Promised Land (Viking) and Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy (Quercus). A Promised Land (Penguin Random House Audio) also gets a nod in the Audiobook of the Year shortlist, and finds itself up against eight others, including Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights (Headline) and The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Dirk Maggs (Audible).
The Crime & Thriller Book of the Year sees Osman’s chartbuster The Thursday Murder Club (Viking) battling against The Sentinel (Bantam Press) by brothers Lee and Andrew Child, Lucy Foley’s The Guest List (HarperFiction), and three others. The newly created award Pageturner of the Year, for popular fiction titles across all formats, sees Delia Owens shortlisted for Where the Crawdads Sing (Corsair) as well as Ben Aaronvitch’s False Value (Gollancz) and Adele Parks for Just My Luck (HQ).
The Children’s Fiction category sees David Walliams and Tony Ross’ Code Name Bananas (HarperCollins) listed alongside Katie and Kevin Tsang, for Dragon Mountain (S&S), and Tom Fletcher and Shane Devries’ The Danger Gang (Puffin). Doctor-turned-author Adam Kay features in the Children’s Illustrated & Non-fiction Book of the Year for Kay’s Anatomy (Puffin), competing with David Olusoga’s Black and British (Macmillan), and Katherine Rundell’s The Book of Hopes (Bloomsbury).
The Non-Fiction: Lifestyle Book of the Year sees baking extraordinaire Nadiya Hussain recognised for Nadiya Bakes (Michael Joseph) next to beauty guru Caroline Hirons (Skincare, HQ) and ex-monk Jay Shetty (Think Like a Monk, HarperCollins).
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the British Book Awards judges, said: “From Shuggie Bain to The Thursday Murder Club, from All the Lonely People to The Danger Gang, from Hamnet to Black and British, these were the books that answered the call during this period of turmoil, debate and hope.”
The winners of the nine Book of the Year awards will contest the overall Book of the Year category at a virtual ceremony on 13th May.
Books of the Year – The 2021 shortlists in full:
Fiction BOOK OF THE YEAR
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books)
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett (Macmillan, Pan Macmillan)
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate)
The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, Headline)
Début BOOK OF THE YEAR
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (Fig Tree, Penguin Random House)
The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton)
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan (W&N, Orion)
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez (Dialogue, Little, Brown)
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Circus)
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
Crime & Thriller BOOK OF THE YEAR
The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child (Transworld, Penguin Random House)
The Patient Man by Joy Ellis (Joffe Books)
The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Sphere, Little, Brown)
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking, Penguin Random House)
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin (Orion Fiction)
Pageturner of the Year
False Value by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz, Orion)
Rag and Bone Christmas by Dilly Court (HarperFiction, Harper Collins)
All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle (Hodder & Stoughton)
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (HarperVoyager)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen (Corsair, Little, Brown)
Just My Luck by Adele Parks (HQ, HarperCollins)
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