THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS: Books of the Year shortlists announced

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The seven category shortlists for the 2018 Books of the Year Awards are announced today by Chair of the Judges and Editor of The Bookseller Philip Jones, who said:

“The true range, breadth and brilliance of writing and publishing is demonstrated in these shortlists, from the unexpected triumphs to the brand juggernauts. The year 2017 was marked by big books that got bigger, break-outs that broke further, and conversation starters that spoke louder.”

Giants of the children’s book world David Walliams and Philip Pullman, line-up alongside the remarkable breakout success of debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, household names Jamie Oliver, Tim Peake and Bruce Dickinson, fiction megastars Lee Child and Marian Keyes, the book that sparked a National conversation, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and the international bestselling phenomenon Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

Reflecting on the Books of the Year shortlists, Philip Jones also said:

“In a year that was marked by notable instances of event-publishing, some stand-out new names, and the return to form of some greats, there was also evidence of a broadening of the market, with debuts from Angie Thomas, Gill Sims and Gail Honeyman mixing it with the fiction blockbusters and the non-fiction giants. The Books of the Year shortlists reflect the strength and industry of a sector that can be both Happy and challenged. In 2017 The British book trade was valued at £1.6bn, it was the year when a lot worked.”

The British Book Awards’ Books of the Year, which were introduced in 2016 to celebrate the books that demonstrate the real value of publishing, are the only literary awards in the UK that champions books that have been both well-written and brilliantly published.

This year, industry magazine The Bookseller, which runs the Awards has further expanded the 2018 ceremony to introduce a new award for the best Audiobook as an acknowledgement of the growth and popularity of the audio books market. The other six categories are Fiction, Debut, Crime & Thriller, Non-fiction: Narrative; Non-fiction: Lifestyle and Children’s Book of the Year.

The shortlists, which consist of six books in each of the seven categories and which uniquely honour not just the author and illustrator of a title but the entire publishing team, are:

Books of the Year – 2018 shortlists


The Break by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph)
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore (Hutchinson/Windmill)
Winter by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (Canongate)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (Fourth Estate)
City of Friends by Joanna Trollope (Mantle)


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Viking)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Fiction)
Sirens by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)
Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims (HarperCollins)
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (HarperCollins)

Crime & Thriller BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Midnight Line by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
The Girl Before by JP Delaney (Quercus)
The Dry by Jane Harper (Abacus)
Spook Street by Mick Herron (John  Murray)
He Said/She Said by  Erin Kelly (Mulholland)
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (HarperCollins)


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo (Particular Books)
Oi Cat! by Kes Gray, Jim Field (Illus.) (Hodder Children’s Books)
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (Illus.) (Penguin Random House Children’s)
La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman, Chris Wormell (Illus.) (David Fickling books in assoc. with Penguin Random House Childrens)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
BAD DAD by David Walliams (Harper Collins Children’s Books)

Non-fiction: Lifestyle BOOK OF THE YEAR

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand (Bluebird)
Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect by Fearne Cotton (Orion Spring)
5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver (Michael Joseph)
The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, stories & 100 essential recipes for midwinter by Nigel Slater (HarperCollins)
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World by Haemin Sunim (Penguin Life)
Cooking for Family and Friends by Joe Wicks (Bluebird)

Non-fiction: Narrative BOOK OF THE YEAR

What Does This Button Do? By Bruce Dickinson (Harper Non-Fiction)
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Bloomsbury Circus)
This is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay (Picador)
I AM, I AM, I AM: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press)
Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space by Tim Peake (Century)
The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young (Faber & Faber)


Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrator: Stephen Fry (Audible)
The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney, Narrators: Emilia Fox, Finty Williams, Lise Aagaard Knudsen (Quercus)
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by  Gail Honeyman, Narrator: Cathleen McCarron (HarperCollins) 
La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust volume one by Philip Pullman, Narrator: Michael Sheen (Penguin Random House UK Audio) 
Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith, Narrators: Greg James and Chris Smith (W F Howes/Nudged Audiobooks) 
How not to be a Boy by Robert Webb, Narrator: Robert Webb (Audible Studio)

The category winners will be decided by seven panels of judges, and a separate panel will go on to choose the overall Book of the Year. The category winners and the Book of the Year will be revealed at a glamorous awards ceremony on Monday 14 May at Grosvenor House in central London which will bring together authors, publishers, booksellers and literary agents for a night celebrating the entire book industry.

New for 2018, the British Book Awards will also celebrate an author and illustrator who have achieved outstanding commercial success alongside making a genuine contribution to the general health of the book world.

Nigel Roby, Publisher of The Bookseller, said: “ The British Book Awards are about recognising all the elements that contribute to a healthy book trade and ensuring that more books reach more readers. Having an award for Author of the Year makes absolute sense. Similarly, illustrators are a vital part of expanding book readership, especially among young readers, and should be recognised.”

Produced by leading industry magazine The Bookseller, the British Book Awards represent a high point in the book trade’s calendar, with winners including Publisher of the Year, Independent Bookshop of the Year and Editor of the Year. The Books of the Year awards recognise the publishing as  well as  the books, with both author and publisher as recipients of the prize.


For all media enquires please contact Annabel Robinson and Daniel Kramb at FMcM Associates on 0207 405 7422 or, and

Notes to editors 

The British Book Awards “ The Nibbies” was launched in  1990 by  Fred Newman, founder and  editor of Publishing News and taken over by The Bookseller in 2017. There have been many notable winners over the years. Faber was the first publisher of the year in 1990 and in 2017 the honour went to Pan Macmillan. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince scooped Book of the Year in 2006. In 2017, Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent took that overall honour. To win an award is  the ultimate recognition of  an individual or an organisation’s excellence. For a complete list of categories: visit the British Book Awards website here.

The Judges: The category winners will be decided by  seven panels of judges, and a  separate panel will go  on to choose the overall Book of the Year from the seven category winners

For a complete list of Judges: