Man Booker-shortlisted Ali Smith, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Eimear McBride, and Costa Book of the Year winner Nathan Filer are among the authors vying at the Specsavers National Book Awards this year.
Presented in association with high street campaign Books Are My Bag, the awards will celebrate writers in 10 categories, with nominees also including Mary Berry, Caitlin Moran, David Walliams and John Cleese.
Winners will be announced on Wednesday 26th November, with a reception to follow at 11 Downing Street, residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Ali Smith’s How To Be Both by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton), which was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, will go up against Man Booker longlisted Us by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton) and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Sceptre), as well as The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Virago), and The Love Song Of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday), in the UK Author of the Year Award.
The Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year will see Nathan Filer’s The Shock Of The Fall (The Borough Press), which won the Costa Book of the Year award this year, go up against How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran (Ebury Press), The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse (Orion), Secrets Of The Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore (Simon & Schuster UK Ltd) and Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Viking).
Healey will also compete for the Books Are My Bag New Writer of the Year award, against In The Light Of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman (Picador), Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe (Penguin), The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Picador) and Wake by Anna Hope (Doubleday).
The International Author of the Year category features Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Eimear McBride for A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (Faber & Faber), The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (Fourth Estate), Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Pan Macmillan), Jeff Kinney’s ninth book in his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series The Long Haul (Puffin), and the Man Booker shortlisted We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Profile Books).
Stibbe’s Love, Nina gets a second nomination, for Non-Fiction Book of the Year. It will compete against Curious by Rebecca Front (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), How To Speak Money by John Lanchaster (Faber & Faber), Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine (Faber & Faber) and Waterloo: The History Of Four Days, Three Armies And Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell (William Collins).
Children’s Book of the Year contenders include Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook by Matthew Neeler and Phil Southam (Egmont), which is the bestselling non-fiction children’s book of the year so far through Nielsen BookScan and the bestselling hardback of the year, and David Walliams’ Awful Auntie (HarperCollins Children’s Books), which is the best selling children’s fiction book of the year so far through Nielsen BookScan. Also competing are Animalium by Jenny Broom & Katie Scott (Big Picture Press), Archie Greene And The Magician’s Secret by D D Everest (Faber & Faber), and Goth Girl And The Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books).
Walliams’ audiobook for Awful Auntie is also shortlisted for the Audible.co.uk Audiobook of the Year award, alongside More Fool Me by Stephen Fry (Penguin), Walking Home by Clare Balding (Penguin), Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks (Whole Story Audio Books), and Man At The Helm by Nina Stibbe (Audible Studios).
Food & Drink Book of the Year will be between The Art Of Eating Well by Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press), Mary Berry Cooks by Mary Berry (BBC Books), Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes by Tom Kerridge (Absolute Press), Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press), and River Cottage Light & Easy by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury Publishing).
JK Rowling will compete for the Crime/Thriller Book of the Year award The Silkworm (Sphere), her second novel written under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym, against Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (Orion), the author’s second Sherlock Holmes novel, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Bantam Press), The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (HarperCollins UK), and Personal (Bantam Press), Lee Child’s 19th Jack Reacher novel.
The final award is for Magic FM Autobiography/Biography of the Year, and the contenders are The Unexpected Professor by John Carey (Faber & Faber), So, Anyway... by John Cleese (Random House Books), Napoleon The Great by Andrew Roberts (Allen Lane), Only When I Laugh by Paul Merton (Ebury Press), and Please, Mister Postman by Alan Johnson (Bantam Press).
Amanda Ross, m.d of Cactus TV which produces the awards, said: “These awards are unique in that they celebrate Britain’s most popular books, the books and authors that help entice more people to read. The timing means everyone can use the shortlists as Christmas shopping lists as there is something for the whole family.”
The shortlist and category winners are chosen by votes from the National Book Awards Academy and will take place between 4th and 12th November.
Readers will be asked to vote for their favourite from each of the category winners to win the Specsavers National Book of the Year Award which will be decided by a public poll on the official National Book Awards website, with the winner announced on 26th December.