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It takes bundles of hard work, inspired thinking and creativity to write a book and book awards are there to celebrate the achievements of all authors – not just the ones who win. Being shortlisted for or winning an award is a fantastic way of gaining publicity for your book and sharing it with the world. So, here is our list of the 35 most useful book awards we’d recommend entering – ready, steady, go!
British Book Awards – these awards celebrate the commercial successes of authors, publishers and bookshops. There are awards up for grabs in the fields of children’s literature, debut fiction, fiction, crime, thriller, non-fiction lifestyle, non-fiction narrative and audioBook. An overall Book of The Year is chosen from amongst the individual winners. It’s wide range of awards ensures there is something for each unique author.
Costa Book Awards – one of the UK’s most popular literary prizes, it helps authors gain widespread recognition and publicity, whilst distinguishing each winner in 5 categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. Focusing on books from the UK and Ireland, it celebrates the creation of outstanding and enjoyable literature.
The McIllvanney Prize – this award focuses on Scottish crime books with the intention of raising the prestige of the crime genre. Both fiction and non-fiction books are eligible, providing that the authors are either born in Scotland, live there or set their books there.
The Saltire Society Literary Awards – based in Scotland, this award supports the arts and culture that creates communities. The books have to be by authors who are either of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland and the book subject must be the work or life of a Scot or include a Scottish question, event or situation. It aims to celebrate Scottish heritage and the artistic work that creates its identity.
The James Tait Black Memorial Prize – established in 1919, this award is Britain’s oldest literary award given to works of fiction and biographies. The winner is chosen by the Professor of English Literature at Edinburgh University. It is this absence of critics, along with the prizes’ heritage, that makes it one of the most respected awards in publishing.
The National Book Critic Circle Award – although an American award, it honours outstanding writing and aims to spark a global conversation about reading, criticism and literature. It is compiled of six categories; autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
The Pulitzer Prize – celebrating excellence in journalism and the arts, the Pulitzer Prize is a highly acclaimed award that has the ability to change an author’s life and career through increased credibility and widespread promotion and recognition.
Fiction & Poetry
Walter Scott Prize – this award celebrates historical fiction, a genre that is frequently forgotten and recognises the importance of authors who excel at bringing the past to life. This award is a key way to gain credibility in this field.
The Man Booker International Prize – established in 2016, the Man Booker International Prize was developed to encourage more publishing and reading of fiction in translation. This award attempts to demonstrate the importance of translated works and acknowledges the role of translated fiction within the wider literary community.
The Man Booker Prize – this prize for the Best Novel of the Year has, quite simply, the ability to transform the winner’s life. The award can hugely boost sales and generate a worldwide audience for the longlisted and shortlisted books, whilst emphasising the range of quality literature available to readers.
The Rathbones Folio Prize – focusing on all types of literature and genres, this award is given based on the works of literature that achieve the most perfect expression in relation to the subject they choose to discuss. Its aim is to bring new literature to the forefront and to celebrate a range of literary forms and styles.
Forward Prizes for Poetry – bringing poetry to prominence, this award is open to both emerging and established poets. The award has three categories; best collection, best first collection and best single poem. This gives recognition to poetry within the literary community and allows all sorts of poets to showcase their talent.
The Commonwealth Book Prize – divided in to the 5 regions of Africa, Europe and Canada, the Caribbean, Pacific and Asia, this prize covers fiction by authors from 54 Commonwealth nations. It was founded to provide a wider readership of fiction from across the globe by a variety of authors.
The Desmond Elliott Prize – a prize for new fiction, this award finds a novel with a compelling narrative, arresting character and that’s vividly written. Its aim is to help emerging authors establish themselves and build a successful career out of their literary talent.
The Goldsmith’s Prize – this award specifically focuses on work that has broken the mould or extended the possibilities of the novel form. It celebrates works that manifests the spirit of invention and innovation, whilst showcasing the numerous opportunity within the genre. The Nobel Prize in Literature – one of the most prolific awards in literature, the Nobel Prize recognises the very best authors in the world and commends them for their contribution to their literary field and community.
The Betty Trask Prize – the award is focused on first novels written by authors under the age of 35 in a traditional or romantic, but not experimental, style. This gives young and aspiring authors the opportunity to showcase their emerging talent and help raise their profiles in the world of literature.
Women’s Prize for Fiction – celebrating women writers in fiction, this award is open to any full length novel written in English by a woman of any nationality. It brings into prominence women who have created outstanding works of literature and who have contributed to the growth of women’s writing across the years.
Wellcome Book Prize – an annual award, this prize is open to fiction and non-fiction books that have a central theme of health, medicine or illness. The award encourages engagement and debate about topics such as loss, pain, identity and beginnings. It aims to illustrate how health touches everyone, adding new meaning to what it is to be human.
The Orwell Prize – the Orwell Prize is the most prestigious award out there for political writing and gives a platform and recognition to those authors. The prize is awarded to the recipient that manages to achieve George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.
The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction – formerly known as The Samuel Johnson Prize (1999 – 2015), it is the most prestigious non-fiction prize in the UK, aiming to reward the best of non-fiction from authors of all nationalities. It includes the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts which ensures the awards cover all non-fiction writers and their interests.
The Portobello Book Prize for Non-fiction – the award’s aim is to help authors express their most exciting new voices in narrative non-fiction, whilst giving debut writers the opportunity to seek and publish an untold story that reflects the times we live in. The writer must be unpublished in book form, as the winner gets a competitive book deal with Portobello Books, representation by C+W and support from marketing and publicity campaigns.
The Wolfson History Prize – this award aims to find and reward the best UK historical writing. It promotes excellence in scholarly history and is judged based on the work’s ability to combine both readability and excellence in research.
The Non-Fiction Book Awards – this award is committed to elevating the status of non-fiction books to convey their importance. With around 200 categories, writers can enter numerous specialist genres that will distinguish their work. This award emphasises authors international success and recognition, gaining them worldwide credibility.
The Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction – concentrating on authors engaged in their first commissioned works of non-fiction, this award gives emerging writers the opportunity to create possibilities for new research and ideas. It provides first-time non-fiction authors with the confidence to continue writing, which contributes to the success of any future works they undertake.
Business Book Awards – focusing on business books, this award aims to showcase authors who have shared their industry or market knowledge, experience and expertise. The Business Book Awards has fuelled the growth of non-fiction development books and recognises experts for their specific intelligence about their passion for business.
CMI Management Book of the Year – this award commends the best writers in the field of management writing. It explores the most useful and inspiring books, to discover authors with the potential to change management and leadership in the future. As it is a specialist genre, this award is highly acclaimed and participants benefit from the exposure and credibility it provides.
Blue Peter Book Awards – established in 2000, this award has been recognising the best authors, creative illustrators and greatest and most enjoyable reads for children ever since. It has two categories; the best story and the best book with facts. This award is perfect for children writers wishing to expand their audience and increase their credibility in the field.
The Branford Boase Award – the Branford Boase Award is given to a first-time author who creates an outstanding first novel for young people. It also emphasises the vital contribution of the editor and their role of discovering and encouraging new talent in literature.
The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal – focusing on rewarding distinguished illustrations in a children’s book, the medal is the only UK prize to solely reward illustration and artwork in literature. It gives artists within the literary community the chance to promote their work and demonstrate their importance in the creation and success of children’s literature.
The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards – a rare award, The Laugh out Loud Book Awards (Lollies) is a celebration of the best and funniest books for children, voted for by children themselves. As the award is voted for by children, it is a reflection on the talent and engagement that authors have with their young audiences and the books they find most enjoyable.
The Waterstones Children’s Book Award – chosen by Waterstones, the award showcases the very best in children’s and young adult literature that appeals to all ages and genres. The categories range from best illustrated book to older fiction winner, helping authors to gain a bigger reading audience and more recognition for their contribution to children’s literature.
The CILIP Carnegie Medal – this award is given to a writer who exhibits amazing talent in their literature for children and young people. Established in 1936, it celebrates the best available literature for the younger generation who may one day aspire to be like the authors they read.
Young Writer of the Year Award – this award is for all works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry by authors under the age of 35. It supports new and emerging writing and creative talent, whilst giving aspiring authors the opportunity to promote their work to a wider audience.
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