The British Book Awards, or “Nibbies”, have revealed their 2018 judges: The best-selling author Adele Parks, the playwright and novelist Barney Norris, and the award-winning writer Kit de Waal will help judge the awards which celebrate the commercial success of publishers, authors and bookshops in the UK.
The definitive celebration of the country’s leading creative industry, The British Book Awards will be announced at a glamorous ceremony at Grosvenor House in London on 14th May.
Parks, Norris and de Waal will be joined by Nick Barley, Edinburgh International Book Festival director and 2017 chair of judges for the Man Booker International Prize, Bradford Literature Festival director Syima Aslam, and book buyers Pete Selby from Sainsbury’s, Matt Bates from WH Smith Travel, Asda’s Phil Henderson, Tesco’s Karen Brindle, and Blackwell’s head of publisher liaison Gareth Hardy.
The British Book Awards combine coveted trade accolades such as Publisher of the Year and Retailer of the Year with seven individual Book of the Year awards.
The writer and illustrator Sarah McIntyre, Sarah Walden of The Book People’s group, and English PEN’s interim director Antonia Byatt will help judge the trade categories, while further Books of the Year judges include Goldsboro Books MD David Headley, independent producer Caroline Raphael, and the trio behind the Mostly Lit podcast – Alex Reads, Rai and Derek Owusu.
Nigel Roby, publisher and chief executive of The Bookseller, said: “The British Book Awards are unique in recognising that successful books are the result of an extended partnership that starts with the author or illustrator’s genius right through to the efforts of a local bookshop – and the range of our judges reflects this. Any title that wins a coveted Book of the Year at the Nibbies will have well and truly earned it.”
Book reviewers and journalists will also judge the awards, including Nina Pottell; Charlotte Heathcote, literary editor of the Daily Express and the Sunday Express; Ali Karim, assistant editor of Shots eZine, and the author and journalist Sabine Durrant.
Organised by The Bookseller, the awards showcase the range and depth of modern publishing in this country to the industry and the public. Three new categories were introduced this year: Author of the Year, Illustrator of the Year and Audiobook of the Year.
Last year, Pan Macmillan was crowned Publisher of the Year, while Waterstones was given the Retailer of the Year award. Sarah Perry’s novel The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail) won the overall Book of the Year award.
Submissions are open for publishers, agents, authors, illustrators, and booksellers. Entries close on Friday, 9 February 2018. To find out more, please visit www.thebookseller.com/events/british-book-awards
For all media enquiries please contact Daniel Kramb at FMcM Associates via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 405 7422
Notes to Editors
Judge bios - Books of the Year categories
Matt Bates is the Fiction Buyer for WH Smith Travel. He has been rated as one of the Top 1000 most influential Londoners in the Evening Standard. He is an Associate Vice President of the Romantic Novelists Association and In 2016 he judged both The Costa Book Prize (Novel) and The Booksellers Association Debut Fiction Category Prize. In 2017 he was named as one of The Bookseller 100 list.
Karen Brindle is Head of Buying, Books, at Tesco Stores.
Kit de Waal is an Irish Caribbean writer from Birmingham who worked for many years in criminal and family law. She has won numerous awards for her short stories and flash fiction and her debut novel My name is Leon won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and The Desmond Elliott Prize. Her second novel The Trick to Time is published in March.
Sabine Durrant is the author of three psychological thrillers, Under Your Skin, Remember Me This Way and The Sunday Times Bestseller Lie With Me. Her previous novels are Having It and Eating It and The Great Indoors, and two books for teenage girls, Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles and Ooh La La! Connie Pickles. She is a former features editor of the Guardian and a former literary editor at the Sunday Times, and her writing has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. She lives in south London with her partner and their three children.
David Headley studied theology in London and Durham before co-founding and becoming the Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, a much admired, leading independent bookseller, based in central London. He has gained a reputation for championing debut authors and he created the UK’s largest collectors’ book club. David has won awards for bookselling and in 2015 he was included in the Top 100 most influential people in publishing in The Bookseller.
Charlotte Heathcote is Literary Editor of the Daily Express and the Sunday Express. She writes, commissions and edits book reviews and opens towers of book post which make every day feel like Christmas. Charlotte started her career in book publishing, working for André Deutsch and BBC Worldwide, before moving into journalism. She has worked on the Express since 2007.
Phil Henderson is the Buying Manager for Books in ASDA and a Council Member of the Booksellers’ Association of the UK & Ireland. After graduating in History from the University of Glasgow, Phil joined ASDA and over the last 20 years has worked on most areas of non-food, before coming into Books 4 years ago. Having found the publishing industry, he says he never wants to leave!
Ali Karim is the Assistant Editor of Shots eZine and writes and reviews for many US Magazines and Ezines. He was awarded the 2011 David Thompson Memorial Award for Special Services to the Crime and Thriller Genre and in 2013 awarded the Don Sandstrom Lifetime achievement award for services to Crime and Mystery Fandom.
Barney Norris was born in Sussex in 1987. Upon graduating, he founded the touring theatre company Up In Arms with the director Alice Hamilton. He is the author of two novels, Five Rivers met on a Wooded Plain and Turning for Home. His plays include Visitors, Eventide, Echo's End, While We're Here and Nightfall. He is playwright in residence at Keble College, Oxford, and has been named among the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners.
Adele Parks published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; prolific, she has published a novel a year ever since, all of which have been bestsellers. Award winning, she’s sold over three million copies of her work in the UK alone and is also translated into twenty-six different languages. She writes numerous articles and short stories for national magazines and newspapers, Adele often appears on radio and TV talking about her work and related matters
Nina Pottell is a books blogger, columnist and books editor of Prima Magazine.
Caroline Raphael had a long career with BBC radio as a Producer and Commissioning Editor for drama, comedy and Book at Bedtime all on Radio 4. Commissions included Little Britain, The League of Gentleman and Cabin Pressure. Following a short period with Penguin Random House Audio she is now an independent producer. Recent work includes the first drama for BBC 1x and a play for Radio 4 that was this year shortlisted for the BBC Audio Drama Best Drama.
Pete Selby has spent his career in Entertainment retail and has worked for Sainsbury’s since 2010. He currently oversees Books and Music trading for the supermarket and in recent years has driven growth in the Books category as well as successfully reintroducing vinyl across the estate. In his spare time he enjoys books, music and books about music. He lives in Surrey with his wife, two young children and a dog.
Judge bios - trade categories
Syima Aslam is Director of the Bradford Literature Festival (BLF), which she founded in 2014. Hailed as one of the most innovative and inspirational festivals in the UK, BLF brings together literature from around the world and across all genres, promotes intercultural fluency and reflects the changing face of contemporary Britain. Prior to this, Syima has worked in the inward investment, automotive, data marketing and education sectors.
Nick Barley has been director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival since October 2009. Innovations during his directorship include Unbound, a free evening mini-festival of literary performances; the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference which took place in 17 cities worldwide; and a Fringe First-winning promenade theatre production, Letters Home, co-produced with Grid Iron Theatre Company in 2014. Nick Barley was chair of the judging panel for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and is President of the Word Alliance - an international network of the world’s leading literary festivals.
Antonia Byatt is Interim Director of English PEN. PEN campaigns for freedom of expression and supports writers at risk, working with writers, publishers and civil society campaigners. It also supports and promotes literature across borders through its translation scheme and blog PEN Atlas. Previously Antonia was Director of Cheltenham Literature Festival 2016 and Director of Literature at Arts Council England 2007 – 2015.
Gareth Hardy has been at Blackwell’s for 10 years. In his current role as Head of Publisher Liaison, covering Blackwell’s supplier and publisher relations, he is responsible for buying and promotions, across book and non-books supply base. Prior to Blackwell’s he worked at Waterstone’s and Students’ Bookshops in a variety of operational and buying roles.
Sarah McIntyre writes and illustrates picture books including There’s a Shark in the Bath and The New Neighbours. With Philip Reeve, she creates books such as Pugs of the Frozen North, winner of an Indie Bookshop Week award. In 2015, she launched #PicturesMeanBusiness, explaining how everyone wins when they credit illustrators properly. The Bookseller named her a 2016 Rising Star for campaign achievements: more illustrator names on front book covers, in sales charts, in social media.
Sarah Walden has over twenty years’ experience in the publishing industry, having worked for both Scholastic and Penguin as a children’s book buyer. Her current role at Book People has a wider remit and she is responsible for both the buying and merchandising functions for the group including the recently acquired gift brand Qwerkity.