2018 Books Department Roundup

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2018 has been an exceptional year for many of our clients, a number of whom have won or been shortlisted for major prizes, seen their work adapted for stage and screen, and passed milestones in terms of copies sold or languages into which their books have been translated. Here are just some of 2018’s highlights..

Philip Pullman took home UK Author of the Year for LA BELLE SAUVAGE at the Specsavers National Book Awards and won Audio Book of the Year, narrated by Michael Sheen, for the same title. LA BELLE SAUVAGE was also nominated for Book of the Year at The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2018. Helen Dunmore (posthumously) won the Costa Book of the Year 2017 for INSIDE THE WAVE and Eli Goldstone won a Betty Trask Award for STRANGE HEART BEATING. Liam McIlvanney won the 2018 McIlvanney Prize for the Crime Book of the Year at the Bloody Scotland Festival with his novel THE QUAKER.


We saw Tessa Hadley take home the Edge Hill Prize for BAD DREAMS, Annaleese Jochems win the Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction 2018 for BABY and Juno Roche win an award for QUEER SEX at the Sexual Freedom Awards 2018. We were thrilled for Tom Gregory who won the 2018 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award with A BOY IN THE WATER.


MAN IN AN ORANGE SHIRT, written by Patrick Gale, won the TV movie/mini-series prize at the International Emmys 2018 while Jan Morris was awarded The Times William Howard Russell Prize at a special event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. A NATURE POEM FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon won the Waterstones Children’s Gift of the Year and Emma Carroll was named Waterstones book of the month for August 2018 – her second time winning this accolade. Over in the Observer, Jack Monroe won the Observer Food Monthly’s Food Personality of the Year award and Nargisse Benkabbou was the Observer’s Rising Star for Food.

Sophie Ward went on to win the Royal Academy Pin Drop Short Story Award 2018 for her story 'SUNBED', which was then narrated live on stage by actor Gwendoline Christie, whilst Hannah Persaud won the InkTears Short Story Contest this year and was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Reem Kassis won the Guild of Food Writer’s First Book Award for THE PALESTINIAN TABLE and Anna Mackmin, author of DEVOURED, also won the fiction prize at the East Anglian Book Awards 2018.

If you’re still looking for your last one or two Christmas presents, why not turn to the literary critics for advice? Dominick Donald’s classy thriller BREATHE came out 4th in the Bookseller’s Critics’ Picks for Books of the Year and books by Sarah Moss, Katharine Kilalea, Tom GregoryMichael Hofmann, Samantha Harvey, Sheila Heti, Ottessa Moshfegh and Carys Davies have all been included in many Books of the Year roundups. Wendy Mitchell and Anna Wharton’s acclaimed memoir about dementia, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE ONLY STORY by Julian BarnesAN UNSUITABLE MATCH by Joanna Trollope and Jason Fox’s BATTLE SCARS were all named Sunday Times Top 10 Bestsellers and Nick Spalding’s latest novel, CHECKING OUT, hit number 1 on Amazon UK.

In 2018 we saw several of our clients recognised on prize longlists and shortlists, including the late Philip Kerr, who was longlisted for The CWA Historical Dagger for PRUSSIAN BLUE. Chris Brookmyre was shortlisted for The CWA Short Story Dagger for THE LAST SEIGE OF BOTHWELL CASTLE and was also a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize 2018 for PLACES IN DARKNESS. Annaleese Jochems was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2019 with her novel, BABY.

At the National Book Awards, THE SQUIRRELS WHO SQUABBLED, illustrated by Jim Field, was shortlisted for an award in the Children’s Category, THINGS A BRIGHT GIRL CAN DO by Sally Nicholls was shortlisted in the Young Adult Category and Jack Monroe was shortlisted for in the Food & Drink category. Erin Kelly and Susie Steiner were given Richard & Judy titles with Erin’s HE SAID/SHE SAID also being shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards in the Crime/Thriller category. Susie Steiner was also nominated for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award with PERSONS UNKNOWN. Joe Heap and Laura Carlin were shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Awards in the Breakthrough Novel category for their debut novels THE RULES OF SEEING and THE WICKED COMETH, respectively, and Victor Lodato was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for the second year running.


At the British Book Awards 2018 we saw J P Delaney nominated for Crime & Thriller Book of the Year for THE GIRL BEFORE, and Helen Dunmore nominated for Fiction Book of the Year for BIRDCAGE WALK alongside Joanna Trollope for AN UNSUITABLE MATCH.

Camilla Grudova was shortlisted for the 2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award for THE DOLL’S ALPHABET, Ruth Pavey was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize for A WOOD OF ONE’S OWN and  Richard Holloway's WAITING FOR THE LAST BUS was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Mike Gayle’s THE MAN I THINK I KNOW was included in Zoe Ball’s inaugural Book Club and Mike was longlisted for the National Book Awards UK Author of the Year. Nick Lake and Kate Saunders were both nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019 for SATELLITE and THE LAND OF NEVERENDINGS respectively.

Other successes from our clients include Kate Williams being named chair of judges of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 and Dame Margaret Drabble delivering the 2018 Blackwell’s lecture at the Weston Library in Oxford – with the title “Telling Stories and Telling Lies: A Post Fiction World?”. David Szalay was been commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to write a series of linked stories for the prime Sunday evening slot. The resulting book, TURBULENCE, has just been published by Jonathan Cape.

Professor Stephen Hawking’s publication BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS has now sold 1 million copies since its publication on October 16th, Ruth Hogan has passed the 750,000 copy mark in the UK for THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS, Erin Kelly crossed the half a million sales threshold for HE SAID/SHE SAID in the UK alone and Natasha Preston’s THE CELLAR sold over 500,000 copies and was a New York Times Bestseller. Further accomplishments for these clients include rights in BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS being sold in 39 languages to date, Erin Kelly achieving 6 more foreign sales for HE SAID/SHE SAID in 2018, bringing the total up to 15 and Ruth Hogan gaining 6 more foreign sales for THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS, bringing her total up to 32.

It’s been a busy, fulfilling and exciting year for all of us and we look forward to sharing more of our clients’ work with readers in 2019.

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