About the Specsavers National Book Awards

The Specsavers National Book Awards are designed to celebrate the best and most popular books of the year. They will be held in 2018 on Tuesday 20 November and presented by Zoe Ball. Attendance of the awards is by invitation only.

The Awards have returned this year after a 3 year hiatus thanks to headline sponsorship by Specsavers. They are held in the run up to Christmas as it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the best books of the year and to help you find the perfect Christmas gifts. 

There are eleven main categories as well as a popular vote for the best book from this year's Zoe Ball Book Club. An outstanding achievement award will also be given on the night to an author or illustrator who has truly made their mark in books.

The eleven main categories are: Popular Fiction, Crime & Thriller, Autobiography & Biography, Popular Non-Fiction, Food & Drink, Children's, Young Adult, Audiobook, New Writer, International Author, UK Author.

The awards are judged by The Academy, a handpicked group of the most senior and influential people in the book trade including publishers, agents, booksellers, journalists and influencers. They vote for the shortlists from a longlist of 15-25 books per category and then again to choose the winning books.

After the awards are announced the public are invited to vote for their Book of the Year from all the winning books. This winner will be announced just after Christmas. Previous winners have included David Nichols' One Day and EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey, Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman, Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist and Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Voting will be carried out via this website.

Host of the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018, Zoe Ball said: “It’s an honour to host this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards. I’ve loved reading many of these amazing books by some of the best authors around. There is such variety highlighted in our selection of Awards and it is a real privilege to honour the best books and authors in the country.”


The Awards are owned and managed by Cactus TV which is one of the UK’s longest-running true indies – currently the third biggest supplier by volume to the BBC and the fourth biggest to ITV. Founded by husband and wife team Simon and Amanda Ross over 24 years ago, the company has made over 5,000 hours of a huge variety of popular entertainment and factual entertainment programming for all of the UK’s biggest broadcasters.  In support of books, they devised and ran the Richard and Judy Book Club on Channel 4, which grew into eight successful series of The Specsavers TV Book Club, the longest running ad-funded deal in the TV industry. Cactus had a 7 year partnership with the CWA for The Crime Thriller Awards, televised on ITV3. Cactus produced The British Book Awards for Channel 4 from 2004 to 2010, then founded The National Book Awards in 2010. Amanda’s previous Book Club choices have created many million selling authors including David Nicholls, Kate Mosse and SJ Watson. In 2007 her choices accounted for over 26% of all books sold in the UK – earning Amanda No.1 place in the Observer newspaper’s list of the Fifty Most Powerful People in Publishing.

Co-Founder and CEO of Cactus TV, Amanda Ross, said: “We’re delighted that Specsavers’ continuing support is giving us the opportunity to re-launch The National Books Awards this year. It’s great that Zoe is hosting this star-studded event after launching The Book Club with us on ITV. These are the books and authors that have got everyone reading this year. The timing means people can use the shortlists as Christmas shopping lists, as there is something for everyone. We can’t wait to celebrate these brilliant books. It promises to be quite a party!” 


The awards are in association with Specsavers.

Specsavers' co-founder Dame Mary Perkins says “Reading remains one of Britain’s most popular past-times and I for one love to relax with a good book. But good eyesight is fundamental to reading anything, whether it’s a book at bed-time or a tablet screen, so this is an obvious and perfect partnership for us.

Specsavers is a partnership of 2,000 locally-run businesses throughout the world all committed to delivering high quality, affordable optical and hearing care in the communities that they serve. The company has long been committed to supporting initiatives that encourage reading and the love of literature in all forms.


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