Black Swan and Walker Books get the independents’ vote

The Booksellers Association of UK and Ireland (The BA) today announced the winners for the Independent Booksellers Week Book Award 2014 (IBW Book Award) which, for the first time this year includes three categories – Adult, Children’s Fiction and, new for 2014, Children’s Picture Book. The winners are:

Adult Category:

  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Black Swan)

Children’s Fiction category:

  • Flora & Ulysses by Kate Di Camillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Walker Books)

Children’s Picture Book category:

  • A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mark Hearld (Walker Books)

There were ten adult titles and twelve titles in each of the children’s categories on the shortlists, which were selected by independent booksellers from nominations put forward by publishers.

The winning titles were judged by two separate judging panels comprising authors, booksellers and journalists, and the judging panels were chaired by the BA’s Meryl Halls, Head of Membership Services.

Life After LIfe PB  Flora & Ulysses pb (550x800) first book of nature small









Meryl Halls, Head of Membership Services, Booksellers Association, said: “The winning books were chosen after much debate around each of the very strong, and varied, shortlists. They are all perfect titles for independent booksellers to be enthusiastic about and hand sell. The judges have chosen fantastic winners, and we are delighted to be able to showcase these books during IBW.”

The judges praised the ambition, wit and breathtaking clarity in the way Kate Atkinson evokes wartime Britain and English family life in Life After Life, a novel that spans the most turbulent events of the 20th century in the run up to its second cataclysmic war.  Kate Atkinson will be at the Edinburgh Bookshop on 9th July at 5pm when she will be presented with her IBW Book Award.

Kate Atkinson, winner of the Adult category, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Life After Life has won the IBW Book Award.  Independent booksellers have been a vital part of supporting my books and creating that essential word of mouth for all great writing. They are so knowledgeable and read so much.  I am enormously grateful for all the work they continue to do.”

For the Children’s category, Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses tells the unusual story of Ulysses, the poetry-writing squirrel, in a book that the judges said is brimming with warmth, wit, charm and quirky humour – with both child and adult appeal either as a shared or more challenging solo read.

Kate DiCamillo, author of Flora & Ulysses, winner of the Children’s category, said:Flora and Ulysses is a story about superpowers and poetry and friendship.  And booksellers have consistently given all of those things to me.  I am absolutely thrilled with this honour.  I am (truthfully) a little bit undone.  Thank you.”  Kate DiCamillo is based in Minneapolis.

The inaugural Children’s Picture Book category award was given to Nicola Davies for A First Book of Nature, praised by the judges for its inspiring text, stunning illustration, superb design and quality production – a “perfect marriage of words and stunning illustrations.”

Nicola Davies, author, A First Book of Nature, winner of the Children’s Picture Book category, said: “I couldn’t be more delighted about this prize from the people who know the most about books. Indy bookshops are the future because they offer guidance through the sea of books we don’t want to read to the ones we DO, instead of just throwing us in without a float or a compass like the big sellers do.”

This year’s judges for the Adult Category were Patrick Neale, Jaffe & Neale, Sheila O’Reilly, Dulwich Books;Lisa Bywater, Foyles;Eithne Farry, book reviewer, Daily Mail and Sunday Express; and Rachel Joyce, author. Both Children’s Categories were judged by Patrick Neale, Jaffe & Neale, Katie Clapham, Storytellers Inc, Lytham St Annes; Jenny Morris, ex-Lion and Unicorn bookshop; Brough Girling, Founder, Readathon; and Elen Caldecott, author. The judging panels were chaired by BA Head of Membership Services, Meryl Halls.

The winners of the IBW Book Award 2013 were A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate) for the Adult category and Wonder by RJ Palacio (Corgi Children’s) for the Children’s category.