The category winners for the inaugural Nero Book Awards have been announced. The book awards looks to celebrate outstanding books and writers from the UK and Ireland over the course of the last 12 months and focuses on four categories: Children's Fiction, Debut Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction. The winners were chosen by 12 category judges made up of a mix of authors, booksellers and journalists.

The Nero Book Awards has stepped into the gap left by the Costa Book Awards, and celebrate the craft of great writing and the joy of reading. The books highlighted in this award provide readers with both high-quality writing and readable stories, regardless of taste. The Nero Book Awards also form a part of Caffé Nero's programme to sponsor the arts. These programmes are run in partnership with Right to Dream, Brunel University and The Booksellers Association. 

So, drumroll please, the category winners are:

Children’s Fiction winner - The Swifts by Beth Lincoln. Illustrated by Claire Powell

Debut Fiction winner - Close to Home by Michael Magee 

Fiction winner - The Bee Sting by Paul Murray 

Non-Fiction winner - Strong Female Character by Fern Brady 

Each category winner receives £5,000. Now that the category winners have been announced, one of these four books will be selected as an overall winner, claiming The Nero Gold Prize, Book of the Year. This final accolade will be announced on Thursday 14th February at a ceremony in London. This final judging panel will be led by the award-winning author, Bernadine Evaristo. The Nero Gold Prize Book of the Year winner will receive an additional £30,000 in prize money. 

Gerry Ford, Founder and Group CEO of Caffè Nero commented: “The Nero Book Awards are a hugely important part of our programme to sponsor the arts and support creative excellence. The four winning books represent the very best writing from the UK and Ireland and we are proud at Caffè Nero to create a platform that celebrates home-grown talent, and to offer a total prize pot of £50,000. Our judges have selected four brilliant books that will appeal to readers of all tastes. My congratulations to the winning authors, and thank you to our judges, partners and the wider publishing industry for engaging with these Awards so enthusiastically in our first year. It is our goal that these Awards come to represent a badge of exceptional quality which is seen as aspirational for authors and within the industry and a trustworthy recommendation for readers.”

Bernardine Evaristo said: “At a time when literature is under threat from the addictive distractions of social media and the internet, literary prizes not only celebrate individual writers and elevate careers, but draw attention to a beautiful art form that requires and rewards sustained concentration and engagement with words, other people’s lives, and the imagination. The Nero Book Awards are a major new prize. I’m looking forward to chairing the Nero Gold Prize, and selecting a book from the category winners that offers readers exceptional riches, one which we judges think deserves to be honoured as the overall book of the year.”

For full details of the Nero Book Awards head to You can also follow the awards on X (Twitter), Instagram and Facebook