Mary Berry honoured for outstanding achievement at National Book Awards

Much-loved TV cook and bestselling author Mary Berry received the Outstanding Achievement Award at this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards, the only national literary prize that recognises popularity across all literary genres.

Presented with the award by long-time friend Ken Hom, the Great British Bake Off judge was honoured for her remarkable career, spanning more than 60 years and 80 cookbooks, which have collectively sold over five million copies internationally.

Little Britain actor and bestselling children’s author David Walliams won in two of the 10 categories. Not only did he secure a third consecutive Children’s Book of the Year win with Awful Auntie, but he also earned the award for Audible Audiobook of the Year for the self-narrated audio version.

After missing out on this year’s Man Booker Prize, American writer Karen Joy Fowler scooped the award for International Author of the Year for her poignant take on what it means to be human, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Beating out competition from Sarah Waters and Ali Smith, David Nicholls managed to achieve his second UK Author of the Year prize with his latest novel, Us.

Jessie Burton received the Books Are My Bag New Writer of the Year Award for The Miniaturist, but the biggest win for a debut author was given to Nathan Filer, whose critically acclaimed novel The Shock of the Fall was named Specsavers’s Popular Fiction Book of the Year over shortlisted authors such as Caitlin Moran.

Non-fiction Book of the Year was awarded to Nina Stibbe, another debut author, who offers a new angle to the literary scene of Eighties London in her book of letters Love, Nina.

Amanda Ross, founder of the awards, commented: “These are the authors that really get the country reading; Their books entice people into libraries and bookshops so they should be applauded for their contribution to literacy.”

Each category winner is now in the running for the The Specsavers Book of the Year award, to be determined by a public vote. Previous winners include Fifty Shades of Grey writer E L James, and the novelist Neil Gaiman, who took the prize last year with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Voting closes at midnight on December 19 with the results announced on December 22.

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