Remarkable breakout novel ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE crowned Book of the Year As PHILIP PULLMAN wins Author of the Year at the British Book Awards

The remarkable breakout, number-one bestselling debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman has been crowned Book of the Year at the British Book Awards (or “Nibbies”), beating off stiff competition from a diverse range of literary heavyweights, game-changing books and commercial blockbusters including Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients; the award-winning novel Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor;  the book that sparked a National conversation, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge; and Robert Macfarlane’s and Jackie Morris’s beautifully illustrated, crowd-funded book of poems for children, Lost Words.

In another stand-out year for children’s books, one of the biggest awards of the night went to giant of the children’s book world, Philip Pullman. Crowned Author of the Year, this new award recognises Pullman’s outstanding commercial success alongside his contribution to health of the book world. While leading children’s book illustrator Axel Sheffler won Illustrator of the Year, also new for this year.

The Books of the Year, which uniquely celebrate books that have been both well-written and brilliantly published, were awarded tonight in seven categories:  Fiction, Debut Fiction, Non-Fiction: Narrative, Non-Fiction: Lifestyle, Children’s, Crime & Thriller and, new for this year, AudioBook. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, published by Harper Fiction, not only won the Debut Book of the Year award, but also beat all other Book of the Year winners.

The team behind Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine truly embodies the value of the prize. Determined to make 2017 “The year of the Oliphant” the entire team mobilised behind the book; a carefully thought-out front cover and tagline (“Meet this Year’s most unlikely heroine”) was just the start of the meticulously planned, 18-month campaign.

A major word-of-mouth bestseller, it was the second biggest selling debut novel of 2017, selling 74,201 copies in hardback and has held the Number one spot in the UK official book chart for seven non-consecutive weeks in paperback – with 447,635 copies sold to date across all print editions. 

The judges described it as a book to be loved and passed on. Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller said: "It was the complete package—a book superbly published, brilliantly written, which became a commercial blockbuster. It’s the title we will remember from 2017."

Commenting on all of the Books of the Year winners, he also said that “they demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of today’s publishing, with books grappling with key issues such as race and loneliness, and narrative voices that were unafraid to combine storytelling with strong messages. There were big books, important books and beautiful books from publishers as big as Penguin Random House and as small as Walker Books. “

Publishing juggernaut Jamie Oliver triumphed with Non-Fiction: Life-Style Book of the Year for his inspired idea – 5 Ingredients (Michael Joseph) – which outsold its nearest competitor in the food market by £7 million and was the biggest book of the year across all genres. Oliver beat off competition from big names including Russell Brand’s Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions (Bluebird) and Fearne Cotton’s Happy: Finding Joy in Every Day and Letting Go of Perfect (Orion Spring).

Winning Non-Fiction: Narrative Book of the Year was Reni Eddo Lodge’s blistering account of how discussion of race in the UK is often led by those unaffected by it.  A game-changer, which has sparked a National conversation Why we’re no longer Talking to White People about Race (Bloomsbury Circus) saw off Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor (Picador) and Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir I am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Tinder Press) for this hotly contested award.

Jon McGregor’s breakout book Reservoir 13 (Fourth Estate) triumphed over one of Marian Keyes’ most well-received and well-reviewed novels, The Break (Michael Joseph) and the second book in Ali Smith’s acclaimed seasonal cycle, Winter (Hamish Hamilton) to win Fiction Book of the Year.  An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger's tragedy refuse to subside. It also won 2017 Costa Novel of the Year and was a Guardian, Telegraph, Observer and Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year.

The Children’s Book of the Year shortlist was so strong this year, the judging panel decided to name The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books) and The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton); winning out over big names David Walliams and Philip Pullman.  Together the winners show the diversity and range of children’s books:  a grassroots Young Adult novel, The Hate U Give follows its 16-year-old protagonist as she is drawn to activism after witnessing the police shooting of her unarmed friend; while The Lost Words, a children’s book that defies easy categorisation, combines outstanding word-craft with exquisite illustrations. Despite the high price point (£20) the book’s mission to reconnect children to nature and a crowd-funding campaign to buy a copy for every school in Scotland caught the public’s imagination.

Also announced at tonight’s award ceremony was Crime & Thriller Book of the Year, the deeply atmospheric, small-town thriller set in the Australian outback, The Dry by Jane Harper (Abacus).  With special consideration given to the front cover and tagline, Harper gave this outstanding debut a distinctive identity in a crowded market; it went on to win the CWA Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel and was Sunday Times crime novel of the year 2017.  In the reintroduced AudioBook of the Year, the AudioBook of Le Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (Penguin Random House UK audio), narrated by Michael Sheen. A marketing campaign tailored to the core AudioBook demographic and Sheen’s mesmerising narration won out over Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection (Audible) narrated by Stephen Fry and How Not to be Boy written and narrated by Robert Webb (Audible).

Debut Fiction Book of the Year Gail Honeyman’s outstanding debut beat the 2017 Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Sally Rooney (for Conversations with Friends (Faber)), bestselling literary debut My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Fourth Estate) and Kindle chart-topper Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims (Harper Non-Fiction) before going on to win the top prize of the night – Book of the Year.

Produced by leading industry magazine The Bookseller, the British Book Awards, or Nibbies, is the definitive event for honouring the commercial successes of publishers, authors and bookshops.

The Nibbies brings together Books of the Year with trade accolades such as Publisher of the Year and Book Retailer of the Year. The idea behind the books of the year is to celebrate the whole journey from the author’s mind to the reader’s hand, and showcase the range and depth of modern publishing.

For all media enquiries please contact Annabel Robinson or Sophie Goodfellow at FMcM on 020 7405 7422 or email annabelr@fmcm.co.uk / sophieg@fmcm.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Book of the Year

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Fiction)

Books of the Year Category Winners

Fiction Book of the Year: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (Fourth Estate)
Debut Book of the Year: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Fiction)
Crime &Thriller Book of the Year: The Dry by Jane Harper (Abacus)
Non-fiction: Narrative Book of the Year: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Bloomsbury Circus)
Non-fiction: Lifestyle Book of the Year: 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver (Michael Joseph)
Children’s Book of the Year: The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (Illus.) (Hamish Hamilton) and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
AudioBook of the Year: La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust volume one by Philip Pullman, Narrator: Michael Sheen (Penguin Random House UK Audio)

SHORTLISTS
Fiction BOOK OF THE YEAR

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) – WINNER
City of Friends
by Joanna Trollope (Mantle) 

Debut Fiction BOOK OF THE YEAR

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Viking)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Fiction) - WINNER
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) - WINNER
Spook Street
by Mick Herron (John Murray)
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (Mulholland)
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (HarperCollins)

Children’s BOOK OF THE YEAR

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.) (Hamish Hamilton) – WINNER
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) - WINNER
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) -WINNER
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) - WINNER
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)

AudioBook BOOK OF THE YEAR

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) - WINNER
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 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:

https://www.thebookseller.com/british-book-awards/shortlists/2018

The Judges: The category winners were decided by seven panels of judges, and a separate panel chose the overall Book of the Year from the seven category winners

Fiction BOOK OF THE YEAR                               

Alice O'Keeffe (Books Editor, The Bookseller) (Chair)
Heloise Wood (Reporter, The Bookseller)
Karen Brindle (Head of Buying: books, Tesco)
Barney Norris (Author)
Fanny Blake (Author and Books editor, Woman & Home)
Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Author)
Derek Owusu (Host, the Mostly Lit Podcast) 

Debut BOOK OF THE YEAR          

Alice O'Keeffe (Books Editor, The Bookseller) (Chair)
Natasha Onwuemezi (Reporter, The Bookseller) 
Chris White (Head of Fiction and Publisher Liaison Waterstones)
Charlotte Heathcote (Literary Editor, Daily Express and Sunday Express)
Nina Pottell (Books Editor, Prima)
Raifa Rafiq (Creator and Host, the Mostly Lit Podcast)

Crime & Thriller BOOK OF THE YEAR

Alison Flood (journalist and book critic) (Chair)
Tom Tivnan (Features Editor, The Bookseller)
David Headley (Managing Director, Goldsboro Books)  
Sabine Durrant (Author and journalist)
Matt Bates (Fiction buyer, WHS Travel)
Ali Karim (Assistant Editor, Shots Magazine) 

Children’s BOOK OF THE YEAR

Fiona Noble (Children’s preview editor, The Bookseller) (Chair)
Charlotte Eyre (Children's Editor, The Bookseller)
Frank Cottrell Boyce (Children's author)
Imogen Russell Williams (Children's book critic)
Amy Mckay (school librarian)
Alexander Holmes (Creator and Host, the Mostly Lit Podcast)

Non-fiction: Lifestyle BOOK OF THE YEAR

Caroline Sanderson (Associate editor, The Bookseller)
Caroline Carpenter (Web editor, The Bookseller)
Simon Mackay (Head of Events, WH Smiths)
Sali Hughes (Journalist, author and broadcaster)
Francesca Brown (Books editor, Stylist)
Rebecca Davies (Buyer, Urban Outfitters)

Non-fiction: Narrative BOOK OF THE YEAR

Caroline Sanderson (Associate Editor, The Bookseller) (Chair)
Katherine Cowdrey (Reporter, The Bookseller)
Pete Selby (Head of Books & Music, Sainsburys)
Bryony Gordon (Author, feature writer and columnist , Daily Telegraph)
Amanda Ridout (Non-Executive Director, Head of Zeus)
Anita Singh (Arts and Entertainment Editor, Daily Telegraph)

AudioBook BOOK OF THE YEAR

Philip Jones (Editor, The Bookseller) (Chair)
Francesca Pymm (Editorial Assistant, The Bookseller) 
Caroline Raphael (Director, Dora Productions)
Karen Rose (Director, SweetTalk)
David Thomas (Director, Sonic Boom Audio)
Kit de Waal (Author)
Nicky Diss (Actor & Director)     

Overall BOOK OF THE YEAR

Philip Jones (Editor, The Bookseller) (Chair)
Alice O'Keeffe (Books Editor, The Bookseller)
Peter Florence (Founder & Director, Hay Festival)
Phil Henderson (Buying Manager, Books Asda)
Adele Parks (Author)
Tamara McFarlane (Owner, Tales on Moon Lane Bookshop)
Anita Singh (Arts and Entertainment Editor, Daily Telegraph)

For a complete list of Judges:  https://www.thebookseller.com/british-book-awards/judges

For all media enquiries please contact Annabel Robinson or Sophie Goodfellow at FMcM on 020 7405 7422 or email annabelr@fmcm.co.uk / sophieg@fmcm.co.uk

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