Posted by: Kirsty | March 10, 2009

British Book Awards 2009: The Shortlists

The shortlists for The British Book Awards (or ‘The Nibbies’) 2009 have been revealed:

Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year, in association with Watch TV & Heart Radio

  • The Brutal Art — Jesse Kellerman
  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher — Kate Summerscale
  • The Gargoyle — Andrew Davidson
  • When Will There Be Good News? — Kate Atkinson
  • The 19th Wife — David Ebershoff
  • The Bolter — Frances Osbourne
  • Netherland — Joseph O’Neill
  • The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite — Beatrice Colin
  • December — Elizabeth H. Winthrop
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo — Steven Galloway

Borders Author of the Year

  • Aravind Adiga
  • Barack Obama
  • Diana Athill
  • Rose Tremain
  • Sebastian Barry
  • Stephanie Meyer

Tesco Biography of the Year

  • At My Mother’s Knee — Paul O’Grady
  • Coming Back to Me — Marcus Trescothick
  • Dear Fatty — Dawn French
  • Dreams From My Father — Barack Obama
  • Miracles of Life — J.G. Ballard
  • That’s Another Story — Julie Walters

Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year

  • The Business — Martina Cole
  • Child 44 — Tom Rob Smith
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson
  • No Time For Goodbye — Linwood Barclay
  • Revelation — C.J. Sansom
  • When Will There Be Good News? — Kate Atkinson

Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Award

  • Azincourt — Bernard Cornwell
  • Devil May Care — Sebastian Faulks
  • The Outcast — Sadie Jones
  • Thanks for the Memories — Cecilia Ahern
  • Things I Want My Daughters To Know — Elizabeth Noble
  • This Charming Man — Marian Keyes

PLAY.COM Popular Non-Fiction Award

  • The Ascent of Money — Niall Ferguson
  • Call the Midwife — Jennifer Worth
  • A History of Modern Britain — Andrew Marr
  • The Mighty Book of Boosh — Noel Fielding & Julian Barratt
  • Stephen Fry in America — Stephen Fry
  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher — Kate Summerscale

Waterstone’s New Writer of the Year, in association with the Daily Mail

  • Tom Rob Smith
  • Jennie Rooney
  • Nancy Horan
  • Farahad Zama
  • Hillary Jordan
  • Melissa Benn

WHSmith Children’s Book of the Year

  • Dinosaurs Love Underpants — Claire Freedman & Ben Cort
  • Horrid Henry Robs the Bank — Francesca Simon
  • Captain Underpants & the Preposterous Plight — Dav Pilkey
  • Artemis Fowl & the Time Paradox — Eoin Colfer
  • Breaking Dawn — Stephanie Meyer
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard — J.K. Rowling

I swear, someone is nominating Child 44 for things just to annoy me. I am, however, oddly pleased to see so many underpants in the children’s category.

But don’t get me started on supermarkets and books…



  1. How depressing. The Tesco Biography of the Year! (My Struggle by Terry Leahy, perhaps?) The Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Award! (My Writer’s Block, by Alexander McCall Smith?) Pardon my apoplexy, but surely popularity is its own reward? You know, with all the readers and money that comes with it? Awards are for books which deserve attention and which haven’t necessarily attracted big sales.

    Grrr. I am going for a lie down now.

  2. Couldn’t have put it better myself, Mr. Self. You had an apoplexy so I didn’t have to. 🙂

    So much for ‘the Oscars of the book trade’…

  3. I never knew there were so many book awards – astounding! The Waterstones new writer of the year is interesting. I agree I could live without Sainsburys and Tescos in the mix, but there it is.

  4. I don’t see how Sainsburys and Tescos is any worse than the Whitbread award (hotels and restaurants) or the Costa award (primarily coffee) or the Booker prize (Booker-McConnell was a cash and carry chain, essentially supermarkets.) As long as they get good judges, what’s the difference?

  5. It’s all so predictable. I’m really not bothered about these awards …

    Presumably with Richard & Judy considering ending their show because no-one watches it on Watch TV, the R&J book club will cease to be, join the bleedin’ choir invisible, shuffle off its mortal coil etc etc and that’d be one less.

  6. I think the names of Sainsburys and Tesco stick in the craw of many book lovers, Jenny, because they have been instrumental in the pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap approach. This policy – lots of copies of a few bestsellers and no backlists – has closed down bookshops near me, and you just have to try to find a music store on the high street now to see the effect it had on that industry. So to me, and I suspect to others, supermarkets, while good at food retailing, are the enemies of reading.

  7. Oh and I see the ‘Nibbies’ site has removed their original blog post along with my response to it!

  8. Three comments in a row! PS Jenny, they don’t get good judges, they don’t get any judges at all. The category winners are voted for by the public.

  9. I originally wrote a comment about supermarkets and books but then saw JS’s comments. He said it all much more eloquently than I did. So my comment is “What he said.”

  10. If they don’t have judges, then I take it all back — they are a menace to civilization! 🙂

  11. I have not read a single one of these listed. Now, is that a good or a bad thing (I do have the Mr Whicher book ready to go and I know that is a goodie) and should I feel ashamed…or not..?


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