Rashford and Haig win W H Smith Book and Author of the Year awards

Rashford and Haig win W H Smith Book and Author of the Year awards

Marcus Rashford's You Are a Champion (Macmillan Children's Books) has been named W H Smith's Book of the Year for 2021, with the new award for Author of the Year going to Matt Haig. 

W H Smith said: "It has been another exceptional year, when many of us have turned to books for inspiration and comfort, and it was impossible not to recognise both Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka [co-author of the title] for the impact they have had on many young people this year".

The retailer partnered with Rashford, Macmillan Children's Books and the National Literacy Trust earlier in 2021 to champion literacy, and has gifted more than 37,000 copies of the book. 

Rashford said of his book, which included tips from performance psychologist Katie Warriner: “You Are a Champion was created with the intention of equipping children with tools and resources to navigate any adversity or challenge they were facing. We didn’t do it for the accolades, but it’s been amazing to see so many young children from different backgrounds engage with the book and take away different things from it. That was massive for me. I wanted any child to read the book and feel like it was written for them. Acknowledging whatever they were experiencing at that very time. It’s really important to mention that without my team there is no book, this was a collective effort, so a big thank you to Carl, Katie and Macmillan Children’s Books.”

Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, managing director at Macmillan Children's Books, added: "We knew that Marcus' book would be important and that it would actively inspire young people. Through this fantastic partnership with W H Smith and the National Literacy Trust we have worked together, reached and created new readers, and influenced lives more than we thought possible. It is a partnership that we are all proud of and I want to thank W H Smith for both working with us to achieve our ambition and awarding You Are a Champion their Book of the Year Award."  

W H Smith said it was also "delighted" to recognise Haig as its first Author of the Year. Nick Johnson, junior buyer for fiction books, said: “From the inclusion of The Midnight Library (Canongate) in the Richard & Judy Book Club this spring to the release of The Comfort Book (Canongate) this summer, Matt’s inspirational books have been a pleasure to support this year, providing a much-needed respite for all our customers. We’re also hugely excited to see 'A Boy Called Christmas' when it comes to cinema screens. It’s definitely been Matt’s year.”

Haig said: “I’m very grateful and honoured to be W H Smith’s Author of the Year 2021. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but it’s been heartwarming to see bookshops fill up with readers again. Thanks to everyone at W H Smith and to everyone who has supported me over the years.”

This winter, Haig's publisher Canongate will also be launching new winter editions of the author's The Midnight Library and The Comfort Book