Friday, May 28, 2021


A celebration of books and bookselling

Winners of the British Book Awards (aka The Nibbies, aka THE publishing event of the year) took place virtually this year. The Prizes are administered by The Bookseller. The Nibbies are awarded in several categories. Here's a sampling of interest to Mystery Readers.

Books of the Year – The 2021 shortlists in full:


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Tinder Press, Headline)


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books)

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett (Macmillan, Pan Macmillan)

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate)

The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate, HarperCollins)


Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)


Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (Fig Tree, Penguin Random House)

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton)

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan (W&N, Orion)

Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez (Dialogue, Little, Brown)

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Circus)


Crime & Thriller BOOK OF THE YEAR

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Sphere, Little, Brown)


The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child (Transworld, Penguin Random House)

The Patient Man by Joy Ellis (Joffe Books)

The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperFiction, HarperCollins)

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking, Penguin Random House)

A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin (Orion Fiction)

Pageturner of the Year

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen (Corsair, Little, Brown)


False Value by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz, Orion)

Rag and Bone Christmas by Dilly Court (HarperFiction, Harper Collins)

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle (Hodder & Stoughton)

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (HarperVoyager)

Just My Luck by Adele Parks (HQ, HarperCollins)


Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club was published in October 2020 on the busiest day in the publishing calendar. It went straight to number one, and now holds the record for the longest consecutive run there (16 weeks). A TV presenter, producer, comedian and writer, Osman was best known as the creator and co-presenter of “Pointless”.

The Thursday Murder Club has changed that. A light-hearted crime thriller featuring four septuagenarians, it sold 45,000 hardbacks in its first week to become the fastest-selling crime novel on record and, six weeks later, the Christmas Number One. Described by its editor Katy Loftus as an “antidote to Brexit”, the novel captures, Loftus says, an “innate sense of Britishness that is both nostalgic and contemporary; so right for now. I feel as though it is a rallying cry for togetherness and inclusiveness,” concluded its editor.

Osman was conscious of not being a “celebrity who writes”; he wanted the book to stand on its own terms. According to his publisher, Osman exhibited “an extraordinary work ethic and a good heart. His charm with booksellers and buyers, his kindness to every member of the team, his willingness to do many things he found uncomfortable, and the adoration felt by his fans, all contributed to a single message: this book will make you feel better.”

The Numbers: The Thursday Murder Club has spent 25 weeks at the top of The Bookseller’s Original Fiction chart and achieved the longest consecutive run at number one. It is the first fiction debut to be Christmas Number One, achieving the highest sale for a festive chart topper since 2010. All told, it is the fastest selling novel since J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy in 2012.

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