British Book Awards 2023 Winners Announced
By Georgia Appleyard and Olivia Ek
The British Book Awards, or the Nibbies as they are more commonly known across the book world, have been the book trade's leading awards since 1990. This year’s winners span a wide range of genres and topics, in a vibrant display of “the remarkable virtuosity of the book business," said Chair of the British Book Awards judges and The Bookseller’s Editor, Philip Jones.
Author of the Year
At a buzzing ceremony on Monday 15 May 2023 at Grosvenor House London, debut author Bonnie Garmus took home the prestigious Author of the Year award for her multi-million copy bestseller, Lessons in Chemistry. Nominated for five awards, the internationally bestselling novelist wrote her debut novel at sixty-four years old.
Overall Book of the Year
Judged by a panel including Channel 4 News lead anchor, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Potter’s Menopausing was announced as the Overall Book of the Year after winning its category, Non-Fiction Lifestyle & Illustrated Book of the Year. Krishnan Guru-Murthy said, “this book helped get a nationwide conversation going about menopause and captured the zeitgeist.” Menopausing continues to rank highly in the bestseller charts more than six months after its publication.
Fiction Book of the Year, supported by Good Housekeeping
The Sunday Times bestseller Babel by R. F. Kuang (HarperVoyager) was recognised for reaching out to every different permutation of reader and is chosen from a competitive shortlist including the much-anticipated Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Picador).
Debut Book of the Year
Heralded for its beautiful writing, Louise Kennedy’s debut, Trespasses (Bloomsbury Publishing), beat stiff competition from Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Transworld) and Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola (Headline Review).
Illustrator of the Year
Alison Oseman, creator and illustrator of the Heartstopper series, was praised for building a community of devoted fans and celebrating diverse voices for a younger audience. She was named Illustrator of the Year for 2023 following shortlisting for Heartstopper in 2020, 2022, and 2023.
Non-fiction Narrative Book of the Year, supported by The Big Issue
Katherine Rundell took home the Non-fiction Narrative Book of the Year award for Super-Infinite (Faber), a riveting and engaging biography of John Donne.
Crime & Thriller Book of the Year, supported by Magic Radio Book Club
The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett (Viper) was praised for its high concept and for standing out in the cosy crime genre.
Discover Book of the Year, supported by Scala Radio Book Club
The Discover award returns for a second year and was awarded to I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel, which was recognised for the innovation and collaboration of independent publisher and author.
Pageturner of the Year, supported by TikTok
This year’s Pageturner award celebrates Colleen Hoover’s Verity (Sphere Books), a TikTok sensation with the unputdownable quality that makes it a true pageturner, according to the judges.
Children’s Fiction and Non-fiction Book of the Year, supported by The Week Junior
The innovative and visually impactful Tyger by SF Said, illustrated by Dave McKean, took home Children's Fiction Book of the Year from a strong shortlist including authors Jeff Kinney and Louie Stowell.
TV personality and activist Dr Alex George triumphed as Children’s Non-Fiction Book of the Year with A Better Day (Wren & Rook), illustrated by The Boy Fitz Hammond, for its superb publishing and genuine warmth behind the campaign.
Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year, supported by Love Reading 4 Kids
This year’s Children’s Illustrated Award goes to author and illustrator Harry Woodgate for Grandad’s Camper (Andersen Press) in recognition of the book's nuanced communication of an important message and its celebration of diverse voices.
Audiobook: Fiction Book of the Year, supported by Times Radio
Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo (Picador), narrated by Chris Reilly, was praised for elevating the physical book, particularly with the authentic use of dialect.
Audiobook: Non-fiction Book of the Year, supported by Audiobookish
Beloved actor Richard E. Grant won for his memoir A Pocketful of Happiness (Gallery UK, Simon & Schuster), which was hailed for its polite vulnerability, emotional narrative, and clever production choices.
Book Trade Industry Awards were as follows:
Small Press of the Year – Boldwood Books
Independent Bookshop of the Year – Griffin Books
Independent Publisher of the Year – Oneworld
Children’s Bookseller of the Year – Waterstones and Round Table Books
Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year – Edinburgh University Press
British Book Award for Export – HarperCollins
Rights Professional of the Year – Richard King
Individual Bookseller – Carolynn Bain
Editor of the Year – Natasha Bardon
Marketing Strategy of the Year – Lilly Cox & Vicky Palmer, Lessons in Chemistry
Children's Publisher of the Year – Simon & Schuster
Designer of the Year – Suzanne Dean, Vintage
Imprint of the Year – HarperVoyager
Publicity Campaign of the Year – Alison Barrow, Lessons in Chemistry
Literary Agent of the Year – Claire Wilson
Book Retailer of the Year – WHS Travel
Publisher of the Year – Simon & Schuster
Regarded as "the BAFTAs of the book trade," the British Book Awards is judged by leading industry experts and supported by all the major industry associations. It is presented by The Bookseller, the UK’s longest running book industry magazine. The awards recognise the “intimate connection between the books, their makers and their audience.”