The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Indie Book Awards 2020: Shortlist Unveiled

Indie Book Awards Shortlists 2020

The shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2020, this year in their fourteen edition, has been revealed today, as voted for by independent booksellers across the UK and Ireland.

Spanning four categories – Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Picture Book and a new Non-Fiction prize – the awards celebrate the paperback books of the year, as chosen by independent bookshops, and are part of Independent Bookshop Week (20 – 27 June 2020), the annual celebration of indie bookshops organised by the Booksellers Association.

Included in this year’s shortlist are Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other), international best-selling author Elif Shafak (10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World), Baillie Gifford Prize winner Hallie Rubenhold (The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper), former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson (Animalphabet) and Irish Children's laureate Sarah Crossan (Toffee).

Chosen by a judging panel of independent booksellers, authors and industry influencers, the Indie Book Awards winners will be announced on Friday 26 June 2020.

The full Indie Book Awards 2020 shortlist:

- The Offing by Benjamin Myers (Bloomsbury)
- 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak (Penguin)
- You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr (Bloomsbury)
- Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Picador)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Corsair)
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin) 

- Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner (Hodder & Stoughton)
- War Doctor by David Nott (Picador)
- The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Black Swan)
- Extraordinary Insects: Weird. Wonderful. Indispensable. The Ones Who Run Our World by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson (Mudlark)
- Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem (Bloomsbury)
- No Win Race by Derek A Bardowell (Mudlark)

- Toffee by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
- Deeplight by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
- Chinglish: An Almost Entirely True Story by Sue Cheung (Andersen Press)
- The Star Outside my Window by Onjali Q. Rauf (Orion Children’s Books)
- The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll (Faber & Faber)
- The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson (Usborne)

- Animalphabet by Julia Donaldson & Sharon King-Chai (Two Hoots)
- Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker & Zoe Persico (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
- Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
- Alfie on Holiday by Shirley Hughes (Puffin Books)
- I’m Sticking With You by Smriti Halls and Steve Small (Simon & Schuster)
- Franklin and Luna Go To The Moon by Jen Campbell, illustrated by Katie Harnett (Thames & Hudson)

The final winners of the Adult categories will be chosen by a panel chaired by bookseller Matt Taylor (Chepstow Books & Gifts) and including Elizabeth Perry (Daunt Books), Zool Verjee (Head of Marketing and Publicity at Blackwells), Sarah Shaffi, (freelance journalist and #BAMEinPublishing co-founder) and Hachette author William Shaw.

The judging panel of the Children’s categories will be chaired by bookseller Vanessa Lewis (The Book Nook) and includes Layla Hudson (Round Table Books), Jessica Paul (Max Minerva’s Marvellous Books & More), Jonathan Douglas (CEO of National Literacy Trust) and Hachette author Piers Torday.

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, author of Extraordinary Insects, said: “I’d like to thank all the wonderful indie bookshops and booksellers out there – thank you for supporting and promoting us authors, by talking about our books to customers, creating beautiful in-store book displays and arranging unforgettable book events. I am so glad to work with you on this mission of mine: to make more readers learn to love the extraordinary lives of insects!” 

Damian Barr, author of You Will Be Safe Here, said: “Every high street needs an indie just as surely as it needs a bank and a post office and a library. Indie booksellers are champions for readers and writers – they can take a book and make it a conversation, because they know their customers. I am delighted to be shortlisted for this award by my heroes.”

Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns, Booksellers Association, said: “Many of us have found comfort, distraction and reassurance in books in these recent difficult times. Independent booksellers of the UK and Ireland excel at recommending the perfect titles for readers, and we are so lucky to have them. The Indie Book Awards are great for discovering new titles and books you might have missed previously because they have been voted for by booksellers, and no one knows good books better than them. I can’t wait to get my hands on this year’s shortlist and get reading!” 

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

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