Shortlist revealed for Specsavers National Book Awards


November 5, 2014

Some of the UK’s best-loved personalities including Mary Berry, John Cleese, Stephen Fry and Caitlin Moran have joined the list of commercially and critically acclaimed authors nominated for this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards in association with Books Are My Bag.

Celebrating the best literature of 2014, the star-studded awards ceremony run by production company, Cactus TV, will honour the most popular and successful writers of the past 12 months, with nominees competing across 10 genre-based categories. The winners will be announced at one of the most glamorous events in the literary calendar, confirmed to take place on Wednesday 26 November, followed by a reception at 11 Downing Street.

This year’s shortlist showcases some of the biggest literary talent across fiction and non-fiction, including Stephen Fry, Clare Balding and David Walliams who go head-to-head for Best Audiobook Of The Year and Mary Berry, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Tom Kerridge who are vying for the Best Food & Drink Book Of The Year accolade.

Comedy geniuses John Cleese and Paul Merton are also among the famous faces to be nominated for awards, both receiving nods for their respective autobiographies, while Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty, Robert Galbraith’s (pseudonym of J.K Rowling) The Silkworm and Sophie Hannah’s The Monogram Murders contend for the title of Best Crime/Thriller Book Of The Year.

Celebrating all things British, the UK Author category is hotly-contended with bestselling home-grown literary legends David Nicholls, Sarah Waters and David Mitchell making the final cut, in addition to the Popular Fiction Book Of The Year category which features Caitlin Moran, Kate Mosse and newcomer Emma Healey.

Amanda Ross, MD of Cactus TV who produce the Awards, said: “These Awards are unique in that they celebrate Britain’s most popular books, the books and authors that help entice more people to read. The timing means everyone can use the shortlists as Christmas shopping lists as there is something for the whole family.”

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the National Book Awards for the third consecutive year. The event is a very special celebration of literary talent and the awards are so well deserved. I hope more people will join us in support of the industry and authors alike to buy and share these fantastic reads.”

The Specsavers National Book Awards are the only national literary prize that covers every genre of publishing, each year reflecting the books most loved by readers. Sponsored by Specsavers, the awards are presented in association with Books Are My Bag, a publishing industry-wide campaign, which carries a simple and powerful message allowing readers to display their love and support for local bookshops.

The shortlist and category winners are chosen by votes from the National Book Awards Academy and will take place between 4 and 12 November. Readers will be asked to vote for their favourite from each of the category winners to win the coveted Specsavers National Book of the Year Award which will be decided by a public poll on the official National Book Awards website with the winner to be announced on 26 December. Previous winners have included The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, One Day by David Nicholls and Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman.


Crime/Thriller Book of the Year:
• Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (Orion)
• The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Little Brown Book Group)
• I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Transworld)
• The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (HarperCollins UK)
• Personal by Lee Child (Transworld)

Magic FM Autobiography/Biography of the Year:
• The Unexpected Professor by John Carey (Faber & Faber)
• So, Anyway… by John Cleese (Random House Books)
• Napoleon The Great by Andrew Roberts (Penguin)
• Only When I Laugh by Paul Merton (Ebury Publishing)
• Please, Mister Postman by Alan Johnson (Transworld)

Food & Drink Book of the Year:
• The Art Of Eating Well by Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Publishing)
• Mary Berry Cooks by Mary Berry (Ebury Publishing)
• Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes by Tom Kerridge (Bloomsbury)
• Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Publishing)
• River Cottage Light & Easy by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury)

Children’s Book of the Year:
• Animalium by Jenny Broom & Katie Scott (Bonnier Publishing)
• Archie Green And The Magician’s Secret by D D Everest (Faber & Faber)
• Awful Auntie by David Walliams (HarperCollins)
• Goth Girl And The Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Pan Macmillan)
• Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook by Matthew Neeler and Phil Southam (Egmont) Audiobook of the Year:
• Awful Auntie by David Walliams (HarperCollins)
• More Fool Me by Stephen Fry (Random House Audio)
• Walking Home by Clare Balding (Penguin Audio)
• The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Whole Story Audiobooks)
• Man At The Helm by Nina Stibbe (Audible Studios)

International Author of the Year:
• The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (HarperCollins)
• Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Pan Macmillan)
• A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Gallery Beggar/Faber & Faber)
• The Long Haul / Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney (Penguin)
• We Are All Completely Beside Ourselved by Karen Joy Fowler (Profile Books)

Books Are My Bag New Writer of the Year:
• Elizabeth Missing by Emma Healey (Penguin Books)
• In The Light Of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman (Pan Macmillan)
• Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe (Penguin Books)
• The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Pan Macmillan)
• Wake by Anna Hope (Transworld)

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year:
• The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer (HarperCollins)
• Elizabeth Missing by Emma Healey (Penguin Books)
• How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran (Ebury Publishing)
• Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse (Orion)
• Secrets Of The Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore (Simon & Schuster UK Ltd)

Non-fiction Book of the Year:
• Curious by Rebecca Front (Orion)
• How To Speak Money by John Lanchaster (Faber & Faber)
• Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe (Penguin Books)
• Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine (Faber & Faber)
• Waterloo: The History Of Four Days, Three Armies And Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell (Harper Collins)

UK Author of the Year:
• How To Be Both by Ali Smith (Penguin General)
• The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
• Us by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
• The Love Song Of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (Transworld)
• The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton)