By Brodie Mckenzie, Clara Garnier-Barsanti, Grace Briggs-Jones and Anna-Maria Poku
The British Book Awards 2023 were held on Monday 15 May 2023 at Grosvenor House in London.
The annual award, also known as the Nibbies, celebrates excellence in the UK publishing industry, honouring authors and publishing professionals alike. Each year the books nominated for prizes are categorised, with Book of the Year categories including Fiction, Debut, Crime and Thriller, Non-fiction Narrative, Non-fiction Lifestyle, Pageturner, Discover, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Illustrated and Children’s Non-fiction. An Overall Winner is also selected.
So, who was crowned this year? Read on to find out.
The winner of Fiction Book of the Year was the one and only Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R.F. Kuang, an astoundingly creative and genre-bending fantasy work on the criminality of imperialism and the power of language.
Louise Kennedy’s Trespasses was successful in this category. This is a debut that has already been heavily praised and celebrated by reviewers. The title was also shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 and Waterstones’ Debut Fiction Prize 2023. Trespasses is a tale of brutality and fractured loyalties in 1970s Belfast, told through the story of a schoolteacher.
Crime and Thriller
After a stay in prison, Steven goes back to an unresolved mystery of his youth: a secret code hidden in the margins of a child book and the disappearance of his primary school teacher after he showed her the book. In a riveting story, The Twyford Code hides more mysteries for which Steven will have to complete.
“For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love”...if this line made you think of John Donne, then the Non-fiction Narrative Super-Infinite is for you. Packaged in a beautiful cover, Katherine Rundell’s book covers the life of the renowned metaphysical poet.
Pageturner of the Year
A pageturner is an addictive cocktail of emotions: when Lowen is hired by Verity’s husband as a ghostwriter it’s her chance. The couple is grieving for the death of their daughter, and Verity is sick. Lowen has to dig into her personal notes for some writing material… until she finds Verity’s account of the night of her daughter’s death. As Lowen falls in love with the husband, Colleen Hoover’s book keeps the reader on the edge: Verity well deserved this win.
A book dedicated to one of the most difficult changes a woman can go through has the honour of winning this award. Menopausing by Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Porter is an inclusive guide to the menopause and what women can expect, breaking taboos and providing genuine advice on how to cope with the often-dreaded change. This book is a must read not just for those experiencing the menopause but also for others who can be affected by it.
Aiming to amplify under-represented voices, this category is appearing for the second time and the must deserved winner is I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel. A "sinister and compelling read" this book has become an exciting success and "shows an independent publisher, through innovation and collaboration, producing something truly brilliant," according to one judge. With the buzz around this book, grab a copy whilst you still can.
In a dystopian setting of a still-existing British Empire, we meet a young boy called Adam when he finds in the filthy streets of London a mythical and magical animal. With Tyger, S.F. Said signs another children's book with the illustrator Dave McKean.
We love stories that can show children the power of love over life. In Grandad’s Camper, written and illustrated by Harry Woodgate, the Grandad, once a traveller with his Gramps, is staying at home after her wife’s death. The granddaughter then decides to invent a plan to get her Grandad on the road with her again. This heart-warming story with colourful pictures wins its second literary prize after claiming the 2022’s Waterstones Illustrated Children's Book.
In her debut book, Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex George provides her young readers with the tools to deal, from a very young age, with their mental health. As we talk more about mental health, it has been recognized that in caring for it, it’s a training that is more effective when starting young: A Better Day is a helpful book that will definitely bring something to your life.
Overall Book of the Year
Helping to normalise menopause is a topic of discussion effectively weaving Davina McCall’s warmth with Dr Naomi Porter’s expertise, the panel thought Menopausing captured the zeitgeist of 2022 and shines a light on women’s health. It is a deserving winner that has already helped many people tackle the taboo of the menopause and breathed life into a campaign headed by McCall’s passion and voice.
It goes without saying that the winners this year are all very well deserved and kudos to the Nibbies team and judges and all involved. A massive congratulations to all the winners.