December 22, 2014
Jessie Burton has been named the author of Britain’s favourite book today, as her atmospheric literary thriller The Miniaturist was voted the Specsavers Book of the Year for 2014. Ending a remarkable year on a high, Jessie was crowned overall winner by the public in a vote comprising the winners of all ten categories from this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards.
Burton’s critically acclaimed novel won by a significant margin ahead of outstanding competition in the shape of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, Us by David Nicholls and Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall.
Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam, The Miniaturist swiftly rose to fame this year as a favourite amongst readers and booksellers alike. In a year of exceptionally strong debut titles, it quickly became the best-selling literary debut hardback of the decade. Fittingly, Jesse Burton won the New Writer of the Year prize at the Specsavers National Book Awards 2014 qualifying for the Specsavers Book of the Year public vote.
Jessie Burton said: “I am indebted forever to the voting public for this incredible honour. It is no exaggeration to say this has been a life-transforming year for me, and this award is a very big cherry on the cake. There are always stories to write, and people who want to read them, and as the year closes, I find this very heartening news indeed. This wonderful acknowledgement will propel me into 2015, and I am deeply thankful to everyone who took the time to vote.”
Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: “Congratulations to Jessie Burton. It’s wonderful to see the Specsavers Book of the Year go to a new talent and we look forward to see what’s next from this very talented author.”
Amanda Ross Joint MD of Cactus TV, added: “The National Book Awards reflect the tastes of the nation, and the nominees are some of the biggest titles of the year across all genres, so it’s an amazing achievement for a debut author to triumph over such a prestigious field.”
The only book award chosen by readers themselves, the Book of the Year is a true test of popularity. Previous winners include The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013), Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2012), Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman (2011) and One Day by David Nicholls (2010).
The Specsavers National Book Awards were hosted by ITV’s Susanna Reid at the Foreign Office on Wednesday 26 November. One of the most prestigious events in the publishing calendar, the awards are unique in acknowledging critical and commercial success.