The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are one of a kind. They're the only book awards curated by bookshops and chosen by readers, like you!
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards include six shortlists which are chosen by booksellers across the UK and Ireland, while the Readers' Choice Award – nominated and chosen entirely by readers – completes the set.
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards launched in 2016, in partnership with and sponsored by National Book Tokens.
Winners will be announced on 9th November at an awards ceremony at Foyles on Charing Cross Road, hosted by "Strictly Come Dancing" co-host and BBC Radio 2 presenter Claudia Winkleman.
The fiction nominations are:
Assembly by Natasha Brown
Panenka by Rónán Hession
Still Life by Sarah Winman
The Appeal by Janice Hallett
The non-fiction nominations are:
Ancestors: The Prehistory of Britain in Seven Burials by Alice Roberts
I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain by Anita Sethi
The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes
The poetry nominations are:
Empty Nest: Poems for Families by Carol Ann Duffy
Slug by Hollie McNish
The Heeding by Rob Cowen, illustrated by Nick Hayes
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
The YA nominations are:
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue
The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff
The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne by Jonathan Stroud
The nominations for breakthrough authors are:
Dara McAnulty, author of Diary of a Young Naturalist and Wild Child – Dara McAnulty is a 17-year-old autistic naturalist, conservationist and activist from Northern Ireland. His debut book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, won the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing, the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Non-Fiction and was longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize - the youngest ever author to do so. Dara is the youngest ever winner of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Medal for services to conservation and nature. He is also the recipient of 10 Downing Street's 'Points of Light' and the winner of The Daily Mirror Young Animal Hero award.
Elle McNicoll, author of Show Us Who You Are – An instant hit with booksellers, Scottish author Elle McNicoll’s first children’s novel, A Kind of Spark, was a the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and of the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Children’s Fiction in 2020. A Neurodivergent writer with a passion for improving inclusivity within the publishing industry, McNicoll’s second novel is Show Us Who You Are.
Marcus Rashford, author of You Are A Champion written with Carl Anka – Marcus Rashford MBE is famous worldwide for his skills both on and off the pitch – but before he was a Manchester United and England footballer, and long before he started his inspiring campaign to end child food poverty, he was just an average kid from Wythenshawe, South Manchester. 2021 saw the publication of his positive and inspiring guide for life, written with Carl Anka, showing young people how they can achieve their dreams and the launch of The Marcus Rashford Book Club, which aims to inspire children to develop a love of reading and literacy as a life skill.
Monique Roffey, author of The Mermaid of Black Conch – Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She is the author of six novels and a memoir. The Mermaid of Black Conch won the Costa Book of the Year and the Costa Novel Award 2020. It was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2021, the Goldsmiths Prize 2020 and the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021, and longlisted for the Orwell Prize, the Ondaatje Prize and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature 2021. Monique Roffey is a Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and a tutor for the National Writers Centre.
Commenting on the shortlists, Winkleman said: “I’m completely honoured to be hosting the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards this year, celebrating the shortlist of books that have been curated by booksellers and will be voted on by readers. Bookshops have been more important than ever before this past year, and I can’t wait to raise a glass to them face to face and celebrate a fantastic year for books.”
The public vote opens today to decide the winners across the six categories. The public are invited to vote for a winning title from each shortlist until 11pm on 31st October, with the winners being announced on 9th November.
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