Irish author among star-studded shortlist for British Book Awards

Irish author Sally Rooney is among the star-studded shortlist for the British Book Awards.

After two years of virtual ceremonies, the event will return in-person at Grosvenor House London on May 23.

Rooney, the Irish author behind Normal People, is shortlisted in the fiction category for Beautiful World, Where Are You alongside Sir Kazuo’s Klara And The Sun.

They will go up against Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason, The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr and Empire Of The Vampire by Jay Kristoff.

Meanwhile, Beatles star Sir Paul has been shortlisted in the non-fiction lifestyle category for his book The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present.

He faces competition from TV farmer Amanda Owen, Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson, food writers Anna Jones and Jane Dunn, and food blogging duo Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone.

In the non-fiction narrative category, Sir Billy Connolly’s Windswept & Interesting is shortlisted alongside comedian Bob Mortimer’s And Away…, Empireland by journalist Sathnam Sanghera and This Much Is True by actress Miriam Margolyes.

The discover book of the year category features Detransition, Baby by American author Torrey Peters and actor and mental health campaigner David Harewood’s Maybe I Don’t Belong Here.

Shortlisted for the second year in a row, last year’s author of the year Richard Osman returns with the sequel to his bestselling The Thursday Murder Club, The Man Who Died Twice, in the crime and thriller fiction shortlist.

The 12 winners will be decided by separate panels, with judges including TV presenter and broadcaster Gabby Logan, Sex Education actress Tanya Reynolds and former rugby player Ugo Monye.

Alice O’Keeffe, books editor of The Bookseller magazine and overall chair of Books of the Year, said: “From fresh new voices to big brand authors, this year’s shortlists celebrate the very best books published in 2021.

“In Non-Fiction: Narrative we see the resurgence of the celebrity memoir reflected in the shortlist with three famous, and now bestselling, faces telling their own stories.

“This year’s debut shortlist includes some unforgettable first novels that will surely be read far beyond our present time. Some very difficult decisions lie ahead for our judges!”

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges, added: “We are delighted with the book shortlists this year, which show writing and publishing remain in good health as readers continue to turn to books during the pandemic.

“We were particularly delighted with the number of submissions in the new discover award that looks to amplify traditionally under-represented writers and their publishers, with these books offering a glimpse of the riches to come as the book market continues to widen its reach.”

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