Books Are My Bag Readers Awards: Eleanor Oliphant Crowned Public’s Book of the Year
- Year of the Debut: new authors shine at Books Are My Bag Readers Awards
- Philip Pullman, Pam Ayres, The Secret Barrister, Sarah J. Harris and Catherine Doyle named top reads of the year
- 55,000 votes cast by the public
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman has been revealed as the British public’s book of the year at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards this evening, while debut writers shone across the board.
The third annual Books Are My Bag Readers Awards – the only book awards curated by booksellers and voted for by the public, sponsored by National Book Tokens – were hosted by June Sarpong at Foyles Charing Cross Road in London this evening. This year over 55,000 votes were cast by book lovers across the UK – up 25 per cent on 2017.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman won in the Readers’ Choice category – the only category with an entirely open vote, where the public can nominate their favourite book of the year.
Debut authors who took home awards this evening included Stuart Turton for his hugely successful first novel, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and The Secret Barrister which won the Non-Fiction award, cementing the popularity of the “profession confession” genre among readers, following Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor which won both the Non Fiction and Readers’ Choice awards in 2017. Meanwhile, Sarah J Harris triumphed in the Breakthrough Author category for her first adult novel, The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, and Catherine Doyle won in the Young Readers – Middle Grade category for her debut middle grade work.
While debuts dominated much of the Awards, there were also literary titans among the winners. Sir Philip Pullman won in the Young Readers – YA category for his return to force, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, and Pam Ayres MBE took home the inaugural Poetry award for The Last Hedgehog.
The Virago Modern Classics 40th anniversary series, designed by Hannah Wood and illustrated by Yehrin Tong, was awarded Beautiful Book of the year (a category voted for exclusively by booksellers) while Vivian Archer, manager at Newham Bookshop, was honoured with the inaugural Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling award.
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2018
Readers’ Choice: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)
Non-Fiction The Secret Barrister by The Secret Barrister (Picador)
Novel: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Bloomsbury)
Poetry: The Last Hedgehog by Pam Ayres, illustrated by Alice Tait (Picador)
Young Readers – YA: The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books)
Young Readers – Middle Grade: The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury)
Breakthrough Author: Sarah J. Harris (The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder) (HarperCollins)
Beautiful Book: Virago Modern Classics 40th anniversary
series, designed by Hannah Wood, illustrated by Yehrin Tong (Virago, Little Brown)
Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling: Vivian Archer, manager at Newham Bookshop
Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the Booksellers Association, said: “From first time authors to literary giants, this year’s Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners give an insight into bookseller’s and the public’s top books of the year. It’s hugely exciting to see such a large proportion of new writers on the list, showing just how much brilliant new writing talent readers have to enjoy.”
The book awards, now in their third year, are curated by bookshops, with booksellers selecting the shortlists in each category. The public is invited to vote for a winning title from each shortlist, apart from the Beautiful Book category which is decided purely by a bookshop vote. The Readers’ Choice category is decided by an open public vote with no shortlist.
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards (#BAMBReadersAwards / @booksaremybag) are sponsored by National Book Tokens and are part of Books Are My Bag – the annual campaign celebrating the vital importance of bookshops.