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The Nibbies: British Book Awards 2022 ‘Book of the Year’ Winners

By Caitlin Evans, Paridhi Badgotri, Gabriella Sotiriou and Thomas Caldow


On 23 May, the British Book Awards (also known as the Nibbies) held their annual awards showcase. One of the most anticipated industry awards of the year, they are often seen as the peak of literary current affairs as they recognise hard work across the breadth of the publishing process. Seventeen trade awards were handed out to numerous publishers, bookshops, and individuals in the industry for their contributions to publishing. Alongside this, twelve books were named ‘Book of the Year’ in their respective categories. Let’s take a dive into these twelve winning titles of 2022.


Fiction: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, Orion Books


This debut novel is based on the separation of protagonists Martha and Patrick. Martha describes Patrick as a sofa that has always been around her growing up. The novel focuses on Martha’s depression and her fear of everyone around her who can be potentially affected by it.


Fiction Debut: Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson, Viking Books


Open Water is a story of an unnamed black photographer who is struggling due to his unacceptable love affair and systemic racism. He uses the second person to enhance emotional intimacy while describing his life in a racialized neighbourhood and the inability of him and his partner to resist their attraction towards each other.


Non-fiction Lifestyle: The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney, Allen Lane


The Lyrics is a revealing window into the life and creative process of Paul McCartney. Spanning 154 songs, McCartney offers an insight into how iconic work from The Beatles to his solo output was formed. The two volumes contain new images from McCartney’s personal archive that complete this once in a generation book.


Non-fiction Narrative: Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera, Viking Books


Sanghera explores in his book how Britain is still benefiting from the empire. He moves across history and journalism to describe his racialised childhood experience in Wolverhampton. In the name of global leadership, Britain still has an aspiration to continue the empire’s legacy.


Children’s Fiction: When The Sky Falls by Phil Earle, Andersen Press


Perhaps due to its excellent writing craft, or the fact that it is inspired by a true story, this novel has taken the children’s literary world by storm, winning numerous awards already. Set during the Second World War, a young boy is evacuated to live with a woman who runs the local zoo. He then takes it upon himself to protect his much-loved animal-friend, a gorilla, from the war.


Children’s Non-fiction: You are a Champion by Marcus Rashford with Carl Anka, Macmillan


In You Are a Champion, Marcus Rashford has created a wonderfully relatable and accessible personal development book for the young people of today. This is his inspirational and practical guide to how to establish positive thinking, navigate adversity and believe in yourself. Rashford MBE solidifies his transition from international footballer to one of the leading activist voices of the UK.


Children’s Illustrated: Hey You! by Dapo Adeola, Puffin


This is a wonderful and ground-breaking picture book that brings together the work of eighteen illustrators of colour, and explores what it means to grow up Black in a way that reflects the diversity of diaspora. The experiences of Black children are depicted honestly to deliver a strong and positive message to the new generation.


Crime and Thriller: The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin, Canongate


The Dark Remains was the late William McIlvanney’s final, unfinished novel in his Laidlaw thriller series, which Ian Rankin swooped in to pick up where he left off. The crime novel follows Detective Jack Laidlaw in his famous Glasgow escapades.


Page-Turner: Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers, Orion Books


What starts as an investigation into a local virgin birth by journalist Jean Swinney, Small Pleasures morphs into a true exploration of the depth and potential of female relationships. Chambers delves into the complexities and hidden details between friends, lovers and mothers in this tale that quietly unfolds towards its heart-breaking climax.


Discover: Keisha the Sket by Jade LB, Merky Books


The story of Keisha the Sket first appeared online in 2005 when its author was only thirteen years old, yet had a huge impact on Black London culture throughout the noughties. Close to two decades later Keisha is now to be published for the first time.


Audiobook Fiction: The Wizards of Once: Never and Forever by Cressida Cowell with narrator David Tennant, Hodder


From the author of the best-selling How to Train Your Dragon series comes Cressida Cowell’s bold new adventure, The Wizards of Once. Brought beautifully to life by David Tennant's wonderful performance for the audio book, listeners will undoubtedly find themselves with a whole new world to fall in love with.


Audiobook Non-fiction: Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly, John Murray Press


Connolly’s first full-length memoir details his life from rags (his deprived Glaswegian upbringing) to riches (fame and stardom, spliced with its own challenges). Told in his own voice, the audiobook is rightfully emotional.

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