Nation Chooses Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt as Top Book of 2017

This week, at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, in a ceremony hosted by BBC News presenter Mishal Husain, This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay was announced as the winner of the Readers’ Choice Award, as chosen by the public.

This is the second year of these unique awards; the shortlists are curated by booksellers and voted for by the book-loving public. With the exception of the Readers’ Choice Award which is voted for by the public without an initial shortlist.

The junior-doctor-turned-comedian’s memoir, This is Going to Hurt, also came top in the Non Fiction category. Meanwhile, Matt Haig won an award for the second year in a row, with How to Stop Time, a bittersweet story about a man who has been alive for centuries, coming top in Popular Fiction. In 2016 Haig won the Non-Fiction Award for Reasons to be Alive.

Celebrated poet, Kate Tempest, won the Breakthrough Author category for her debut novel, The Bricks that Built the Houses, while Colson Whitehead won the Novel Award for The Underground Railroad and The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris was recognised as the most Beautiful Book of the year.

For the first time, this year the children’s categories were voted for by children themselves, with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas winning the YA Award, and Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll taking home the Middle Grade Award.

Adam Kay said: “I’m beyond thrilled to win the Books Are My Bag Non-Fiction award and beyond beyond thrilled to win the Readers’ Choice award. Thanks so much to the wonderful bookshops and booksellers who chose me for the shortlist, and to the book buyers who voted for me.  Lovely and humbling as it has been to read nice words about the book in the newspapers, I wrote it for readers not newspapers, and that’s what makes this such an honour.

“When the junior doctors were coming under fire from the government for ‘being greedy’ it was so heart-breaking that the medics were struggling to get their story across. (Presumably because they were working 97-hour weeks.) Hopefully I’ve done my little bit to help people understand what it means to be a junior doctor and how ridiculous the government’s position is.”

Alan Staton, Head of Marketing & Communications at the Booksellers Association, said: We have had an incredible reception to the second year of the BAMB Readers Awards. These awards are a unique opportunity for booksellers, authors, publishers and readers to celebrate the best books of the year. The winners and the shortlisted titles are fantastic reads and the list will inspire many presents for book lovers this Christmas.”

Alex de Berry, MD at National Book Tokens, said: “We have such an exciting and diverse range of winners this year, each equally deserving of their award. I’m sure that all of them will be on many people’s Christmas wish lists. We are very proud to be part of the BAMB Readers Awards. Unlike other awards, the Reader Awards celebrate the voices of booksellers and readers, two of the most important groups in the publishing industry.”

With seven winners across eight categories, the 2017 Books Are My Bag winners are:

  • Popular Fiction Winner: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (Canongate)
  • Novel Winner: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet)
  • Non-Fiction Winner: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (Picador)
  • Middle Grade Winner: Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll (Faber & Faber)
  • YA Winner: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
  • Breakthrough Author Winner: Kate Tempest for The Bricks that Built the Houses (Bloomsbury)
  • Readers Choice Award: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (Picador)
  • Beautiful Books Award: The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and images by Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton)

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards is sponsored by National Book Tokens and is the only book award curated by bookshops and voted for by book lovers. Bookshops across the country curated the shortlists across Popular Fiction, Non-Fiction, Novel, YA, Middle Grade 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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