The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Independent Bookshop Week Book Awards 2019 shortlist unveiled

The Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Book Awards, this year in their thirteenth edition, have today revealed the 2019 shortlist, as voted for by independent booksellers and to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week (15 – 22 June).

Spanning three categories – Adult, Children’s and  Picture Book – the shortlist includes best-selling authors such as Stephen Fry (Mythos), Pat Barker (The Silence of the Girls) and Julia Donaldson (The Cook and The King), as well as debut writers like Afua Hirsch (Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging) and Onjali Q Raúf (The Boy at the Back of the Class).

Many of the shortlisted authors, including Kes Gray, Emily Haworth-Booth and Catherine Bruton, will be taking part in events in indie bookshops nationwide, as part of Independent Bookshop Week.

Chosen by a judging panel of independent booksellers, authors and industry influencers, the IBW Awards winners will be announced on Friday 14 June 2019, the day before the official start of IBW.

The full IBW Book Awards 2019 shortlist:
IBW Book Award - Adult
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (Penguin)
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Vintage) 
Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan (Square Peg) 
Educated by Tara Westover (Windmill Books) 
The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story by Christie Watson (Vintage) 
Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry (Penguin) 
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (Penguin) 
Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson (Icon Books) 
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch (Vintage) 
Diversify: How to Challenge Inequality and Why We Should by June Sarpong (HQ) 

IBW Book Award - Children's
The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay (Macmillan Children’s Books) 
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury) 
The Steam Whistle Theatre Company by Vivian French (Walker Books) 
The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury) 
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury) 
The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell, illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino (Usborne) 
Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange (Chicken House) 
The Day I was Erased by Lisa Thompson (Scholastic) 
The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher (Firefly Press) 
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Orion Children’s Books) 
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf, illustrated by Pippa Curnick (Orion Children’s Books) 
No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton (Nosy Crow) 
IBW Book Award - Picture Book
Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell illustrated by Katie Harnett (Thames & Hudson) 
Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup (Caterpillar Books) 
The King Who Banned the Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion Children’s Books) 
Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury) 
The Cook and The King by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts (Macmillan Children’s Books) 
The Girls by Lauren Ace, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie (Caterpillar Books) 
Everybody’s Welcome by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Greg Abbott (Caterpillar Books) 
Girls Can Do Anything by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Ali Pye (Scholastic) 
You’re Called What?! by Kes Gray, illustrated by Nikki Dyson (Macmillan Children’s Books) 
Little Bear’s Spring by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Briony May Smith (Macmillan Children’s Books) 
If All the World Were… by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Allison Colpoys (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) 
All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys (Scribble)

The final winner of the Adult category will be chosen by a panel chaired by Nic Bottomley (Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights) and including booksellers Jo Coldwell (Red Lion Books) and Sarah Dennis (Mostly Books), journalist Sian Cain (Online Editor of Guardian Books) and author Vaseem Khan. 

The judging panel of the Children’s category is chaired by Vanessa Lewis (The Book Nook), booksellers James Cross (Rogan’s Books) and Urmi Merchant (Pickled Pepper Books), journalist Imogen Russell Williams (Guardian, Metro and TLS among others) and author and illustrator Steve Antony.

Catherine Doyle, author of The Storm Keeper’s Island, said: “Independent bookshops occupy a vital and special place in our culture. They are treasure troves, unique and vibrant and underpinned, always, by a boundless passion for stories that is both infectious and inviting. I feel particularly lucky that The Storm Keeper's Island has been so wonderfully embraced by independent bookshops this past year and look forward to visiting even more in the months ahead!' 

Elli Woollard, author of Little Bear’s Spring, said: “I feel hugely honoured that some of the best booksellers in the country have shortlisted Little Bear's Spring for the IBW Book Award. Independent booksellers are the lifeblood of the book industry. Passionate, knowledgeable and above all immensely dedicated, they know exactly what books to recommend to their customers...They can encourage you to read not only the books you've always wanted to read, but also those that you never before knew that you wanted to read, those books which seem to have been written specially for you and which become little parts of your soul…Long may they continue to do their outstanding work!’ 

Authors shortlisted for the IBW Book Awards with events during Independent Bookshop Week include:
Catherine Doyle is doing school events with Nomad Books (Fulham, London) on Wednesday 19th June and The Bookcase (Chiswick) on Thursday 20th June Catherine Bruton will launch No Ballet Shoes in Syria at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (Bath) on Thursday 20th June

Emily Haworth-Booth to do a The King Who Banned the Dark window for Smallprint Books (Forest Hill, London)
Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie are doing an event at Cover to Cover (Swansea) on Saturday 15th June
Joseph Coelho will be at Pickled Pepper Books (Crouch End, London), on Thursday 20th June 

For more information about the Independent Book Awards and previous winners, please visit

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