Risen to the top! Mary Berry the toast of this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards


November 26, 2014


Actor and author David Walliams scoops children’s book prize for third year running

Bestselling author and TV Cook Mary Berry CBE received the Outstanding Achievement Award at tonight’s Specsavers National Book Awards, one of the most prestigious events in the publishing calendar, this year hosted by Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid. Mary was awarded the coveted prize by longtime friend and fellow culinary legend Ken Hom OBE, in recognition of her illustrious career spanning over 60 years, taking her from cookery editor to TV personality and bestselling author. To date she has published over 80 bestselling cookery books and sold more than five million copies around the world.

Actor and bestselling children’s author David Walliams won the award for Children’s Book of the Year for an impressive third year running. This year his best-selling book Awful Auntie not only scooped the children’s prize, but Walliams’ self-narrated audio version also took the prize for Audible Audiobook of the Year.

The coveted title of UK Author of the Year was awarded to David Nicholls for the second time for his latest novel Us;Terry Hayes’s I Am Pilgrim was named Crime Book of the Year; and Yotam Ottolenghi tasted success with Plenty Morein the Food and Drink Book of the Year category.

Alan Johnson’s memoir Please, Mister Postman was named the winner of the Magic FM Autobiography/Biography of the Year and in the International Author of the Year category Karen Joy Fowler won the award for her dazzling tale of family love We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

It was a great year for debut authors, the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year went to Nathan Filer whose poignant and critically acclaimed debut novel The Shock of the Fall beat the shortlist of impressive chart-topping novelists to the prize.

Another first time author Nina Stibbe took the award for Non-fiction Book of the Year with her published book of lettersLove, Nina which gives a unique view of eighties literary London. And Jessie Burton bagged the Books Are My Bag New Writer of the Year Award for her first novel, The Miniaturist.

Winners were revealed at a glamourous ceremony held, for the first time, at The Foreign Office followed by a reception for the nominees at Number 11 Downing Street, in association with bookshop campaign, Books Are My Bag. TV’s Susanna Reid hosted the ceremony and Media partner Magic FM will broadcast interviews with winners and shortlisted authors.

Specsavers Book of the Year Award – VOTING NOW OPEN – £250 of National Book Tokens to be won!

It’s now up to the public to complete the final chapter by deciding the overall winner of the Specsavers Book of the Year. Readers can vote online to determine which category winner deserves the coveted trophy, previously won by Caitlin Moran, Neil Gaiman, David Nicholls and E.L. James. The only book award chosen by readers themselves, the Book of the Year is a true test of popularity. Votes can be registered at nationalbookawards.co.uk. The voting closes at midnight on 19 December with the winner announced on 22 December. Voters will be entered into a draw to win National Book Tokens.

Amanda Ross, from Cactus TV, who founded and produces the Awards, commented: “I am delighted to be able to take the shortlisted authors of the National Book Awards to a reception at 11 Downing Street this year in recognition of their popularity.  These are the authors that really get the country reading, their books entice people into libraries and book shops so they should be applauded for their contribution to literacy.”

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: “Specsavers is delighted to sponsor the National Book Awards for the third consecutive year and we’d like to congratulate all the winners and especially Mary Berry on her lifetime achievement award. It’s thanks to these talented individuals that we continue to read and learn from a young age. Best of luck to all of tonight’s winners in the public vote for the Specsavers Book of the Year – there’s no doubt it will be a tightly fought contest!”