Invisible Women Voted UK & Ireland’s Top Read of 2019 in the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards

London. 12 November. The winners of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards – the only book award curated by bookshops in the UK & Ireland and voted on by book lovers – were announced tonight at a ceremony at Foyles Charing Cross.

The British and Irish public chose Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez as its book of the year 2019, in an open vote for the Readers’ Choice category, with over 40,000 votes cast in total across all categories. Invisible Women explores the ways in which everything from government policy and medical research to technology and the workplace is influenced by biased data which excludes women, and what this means for our society.

Women dominated this year’s awards with seven of the eight winners being female: Michelle Obama won the Non-Fiction category for her memoir Becoming, Greta Thunberg was crowned Breakthrough Author for No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, Madeline Miller won the Fiction award for Circe, Sarah Crossan took home the Young Adult award for Toffee, and Catherine Bruton won the Children’s Fiction award for No Ballet Shoes in Syria. Meanwhile, Leonard Cohen’s The Flame came top in the Poetry category, and The Binding by Bridget Collins, designed by Micaela Alcaino was crowned Beautiful Book.

This year’s Books are My Bag Readers Awards winners list also has a notable international flavour, with winners coming from the UK (Collins, Bruton), USA (Obama, Miller), Ireland (Crossan), Canada (Cohen) and Sweden (Thunberg).

The fourth annual Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, sponsored by National Book Tokens, were hosted by Rizzle Kicks’ Jordan Stephens.


The Winners of the 2019 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, as chosen by bookshops and the public, are:

Readers’ Choice

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez


Circe by Madeline Miller


Becoming by Michelle Obama


The Flame by Leonard Cohen

Young Adult

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Children’s Fiction

No Ballet Shoes In Syria by Catherine Bruton

Breakthrough Author

Greta Thunberg for No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

Beautiful Book

The Binding by Bridget Collins, designed by Micaela Alcaino (The Borough Press)

Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling

Trevor Goul-Wheeker, former Chairman at Blackwell’s

Trevor Goul-Wheeker received the Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling Award, as chosen by his peers. Under his ten-year chairmanship at Blackwell’s bookshop, the chain saw significant growth. He worked in the book trade since 1994, first at Hammick’s bookshop, and subsequently at W H Smith and Blackwell’s, before retiring in June 2019.

Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at the Booksellers Association, commented: “Congratulations to all of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2019 winners! This year’s winners explore some of the most pressing and pertinent topics of our time, demonstrating the many ways in which books are vehicles for ideas, and sources of entertainment and joy, across cultures and generations. Bookshops play a pivotal role in fostering our love for books and helping books and readers to discover each other, and we hope even more readers will have the opportunity to experience these fantastic winners.

“There are so many booksellers who dedicate their lives to bringing books to readers, and we’re delighted to honour Trevor Goul-Wheeker this evening, who has given so much to bookselling throughout his career.”

The book award, now in its fourth year, is the only book award curated by bookshops and chosen by book lovers, with booksellers selecting the shortlists. The shortlist categories open for public vote are: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Young Adult, Children’s Fiction and Breakthrough Author. In addition, the public can nominate any book they’ve read in the past year as this year’s Readers’ Choice winner. The Beautiful Book category is voted for exclusively by booksellers from a shortlist of six titles.

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are sponsored by National Book Tokens and are part of Books Are My Bag, the annual campaign celebrating the vital importance of bookshops.

For more information visit / @BooksAreMyBag / #BAMBReadersAwards

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