The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Indie Book Awards 2021 Shortlist Announced

Indie Book Awards 2021 shortlist

The shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021, the annual awards curated by independent bookshops as part of Independent Bookshop Week (IBW, 19-26 June 2021), has been revealed today.
2021 Shortlist includes: Windrush Child  by Benjamin Zephaniah; The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Hungry by Grace Dent; The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson and Sara Ogilvie
The awards honour the paperback books of the year across four categories – Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s Fiction and Picture Book – as voted for by independent booksellers. Celebrating the best reads for the summer and the books that readers should be taking on holiday (or on their staycations) this summer, the awards are a part of the annual campaign celebrating indie bookshops in the UK and Ireland organised by the Booksellers Assosciation.
This year’s shortlist include the debut sensation Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club), the number 1 Sunday Times Bestselling author Matt Haig (The Midnight Library), Julia Donaldson MBE (The Hospital Dog), previous Indie Book Award nominee Onjali Q. Rauf (The Night Bus Hero),  2020 Booker Prize longlisted author Kiley Reid (Such A Fun Age), Stonewall Book Award winner Jessica Love (Julian at the Wedding), writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah (Windrush Child) and Carnegie award winner Meg Rosoff (The Great Godden).
A judging panel of independent booksellers and authors will decide on the four winners, to be announced on Friday 25 June 2021, the penultimate day of Independent Bookshop Week.
The full Indie Book Awards 2021 shortlist:
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador)
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate)
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking)
Summerwater by Sarah Moss (Picador)
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber & Faber)
The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn (Michael Joseph)
My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay (Canongate)
The Stubborn Light of Things by Melissa Harrison (Faber & Faber)
Humankind by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier Spy by Ben Macintyre (Viking)
Hungry by Grace Dent (Mudlark)
Tamarind & the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan (Chicken House)
Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah (Scholastic)
The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Rauf (Orion Children's)
The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff (Bloomsbury)
Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant (Faber Children’s)
Vi Spy: Licence to Chill by Maz Evans (Chicken House)
The Bear, the Piano & Little Bear's Concert by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)
Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love (Walker Books)
The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson & Sara Ogilvie (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Dog Gone by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls, illustrated by David Litchfield (Walker Books)
The Girl and the Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes & Sarah Massini (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The judging panel for the Adult categories consists of booksellers including Tina Gaisford-Waller (Winstone’s Hunting Raven Books), Saber Khan (Toppings, Bath), Sam Fisher (Burley Fisher Books), Alice Carr (Blackwell’s, Edinburgh) and Hachette author Will Dean.
The Children’s categories will be judged by Nicola Lee (Children’s Bookshop, Lindley), Mariana Mouzinho (Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books), India Chambers (Round Table Books), Gill Edwards (Little Ripon Bookshop) and Hachette author Patrice Lawrence.
Benjamin Zephaniah, author of Windrush Child, said: ‘When I say I owe a lot to independent bookshops, I mean it. My first book was not published by an established publisher, it was published by Page One Books, an independent book shop in east London. When I couldn’t find venues to perform in, I performed above, or in, independent bookshops all over the country. Independent bookshops made me, and I don’t want to get too heavy, but in times like these I use them for their human connections, and as a political statement. Long love the book lovers.’
Raynor Winn, author of The Wild Silence, said: ‘Independent booksellers are an amazing network of people with an understanding and passion for books like no other. They're incredibly important not only for authors and publishers but also as hubs of connection within their communities. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to indie booksellers the length of the county for the overwhelmingly generous support they've shown for both of my books - thank you!‘
Richard Osman, author of The Thursday Murder Club, said: 'Independent bookshops are the heartbeat of their communities and the heartbeat of the publishing industry. They feel like home for me, and I am beyond thrilled to be nominated for this award.'
Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns, Booksellers Association, said: ‘The Indie Book Awards celebrate the best titles of the year, as recommended by the expertise of independent booksellers. This year’s shortlist features an eclectic mix of books, from Sunday Times best-sellers, to Booker-nominated titles, to books that have kept us company throughout lockdown. As bookshops gradually reopen in the UK and Ireland, I can’t wait to go to my local indie and get my hands on this year’s shortlist – and I hope all book lovers will do the same!’
For more information about the Indie Book Awards and previous winners, please visit
Follow the latest developments via social media: #IndieBookshopWeek @BooksAreMyBag