The Good Immigrant Crowned Book of the Year in Public Vote

On Thursday 24 November, at the inaugural Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, The Good Immigrant – a collection of essays by twenty-one emerging BAME writers, edited by award-winning writer, Nikesh Shukla – was revealed as the British public’s favourite book of 2016.

The Good Immigrant won the public vote for the Readers’ Choice Award at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, beating The Girl on the Train, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and A Little Life  to the accolade. Voting took place online and in bookshops across the UK with book lovers invited to nominate their favourite read of the past 12 months. In total over 50,000 votes were cast across the inaugural Books Are My Bag Readers Awards’ six public categories.

The Good Immigrant examines race and immigration, painting a picture of what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want or accept you. The crowd-funded book (which was supported by the likes of J.K. Rowling, who pledged £5,000) explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay, what it means to be mixed race, and where your place is in the world if you’re unwelcome in the place you call home.

Books Are My Bag’s Alan Staton, said: “At the end of a turbulent year, the faith that book-lovers have shown The Good Immigrant and the affection in which it is held, is so affirming. It’s the book of the moment in so many ways and I’m delighted that it’s won the inaugural Books Are My Bag Readers’ Choice award.”

Also announced tonight, in a ceremony hosted by British actress and writer Meera Syal, the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners for best Fiction, Non-Fiction, Biography & Autobiography, Children’s and Breakthrough Author of 2016, as shortlisted by UK bookshops and voted for by the public, are:

  • FICTION:

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

by Max Porter

  • NON-FICTION:

Reasons to Stay Alive

by Matt Haig

  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

The Road to Little Dribbling

by Bill Bryson

  • CHILDREN’S:

The Detective Dog

by Julia Donaldson

  • BREAKTHROUGH AUTHOR:

Joanna Cannon

for The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

 Meanwhile, bookshops chose The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and designed by Pete Dyer as the most Beautiful Book published in 2016.

Alex de Berry, MD at National Book Tokens, added: “Each of these books is a hugely deserving winner tonight. In many cases these are books which have been extremely popular in 2016, but which might not have been recognised by other book awards. It’s wonderful to see these fantastic and diverse books being celebrated by the people who love books the most: bookshops and readers. For anyone looking for inspiration for what books to buy this Christmas, tonight’s winners would be a fantastic place to start.”

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards is sponsored by National Book Tokens and is the first book award curated by bookshops and voted for by book lovers. Bookshops across the country curated the shortlists across Fiction, Non-Fiction, Biography & Autobiography, Children’s and Breakthrough Author, with the public invited to vote for the winner in each category. The Beautiful Book category was purely voted for by bookshops, while Readers’ Choice was open to the public to nominate any book of their choice.

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