Shafak scoops Blackwell's Book of the Year

Shafak scoops Blackwell's Book of the Year

Elif Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World (Viking) has triumphed in a vote by Blackwell’s booksellers across the country to be named Blackwell’s Book of the Year.

In a highly competitive field, Shafak, who won the Blackwell’s Fiction Book of the Year earlier this month, was competing for the overall Blackwell’s Book of the Year Prize with Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez (Chatto & Windus), Top Marks for Murder by Robin Stevens (Puffin) and Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze).

Shafak said: "I am utterly delighted and honoured to learn that 10 Mins was selected Blackwell’s Book of the Year. May 2020 be the year of storytelling! It means a lot to me that my novel was chosen book of the year by booksellers--people who not only genuinely love to read but also work hard, day in day out, to share this love with others."

Katharine Fry, trade buying manager at Blackwell’s, said "This year’s awards have been hotly contested and the discussions we’ve had across our bookshops have been tremendously passionate. I’d like to offer many congratulations to Elif Shafak for winning this accolade."

Thomas Kaye, a Blackwell’s bookseller from Liverpool who voted for the winner, which was shortlisted for the Booker earlier this year, added: "Shafak’s novel is deep, thoughtful and beautiful. A brilliant exploration of the individual and the experiences that make a life."

Meanwhile, Ulric van den Bogaerde, a Blackwell’s bookseller in Oxford, said: "This book is glowing proof of Shafak’s position as one of the finest writers of our time."

Shafak's win comes as Profile and Wellcome sign the author's manifesto offering “a rallying cry for hopefulness”. How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division is a short manifesto by the novelist and human rights advocate, slated for publication in July 2020.

Last year former Blackwell’s bookseller Daisy Johnson won the retailer’s Book of the Year for her "outstanding" Man Booker-shortlisted novel Everything Under (Jonathan Cape).