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British Book Awards: Prince Harry and Britney Spears memoirs nominated

Memoirs by Britney Spears and the Duke of Sussex have been shortlisted for the British Book Awards Book of the Year.

British Book Awards: Prince Harry and Britney Spears memoirs nominated
British Book Awards: Prince Harry and Britney Spears memoirs nominated

Prince Harry’s Spare, the bestselling book of 2023, is nominated in two categories.

It comes three decades after his father, the King, was named author of the year in 1990, the first year of the awards.

Other memoirs nominated include Star Trek’s Sir Patrick Stewart and comic character Alan Partridge’s.

Britney Spears’ much-hyped autobiography, The Woman in Me, which went on sale in October 2023, was one of the bestselling memoirs of the year.

In the book, the pop star documented her career and what it was like to be controlled by her father for 13 years under a conservatorship.

She also opened up about a medical abortion she had during her relationship with Justin Timberlake in the early 2000s and the emotional impact that had on her.

‘Risky book’

The rising number of author-podcasters is also reflected in the shortlist, with Steven Bartlett receiving two nominations for The Diary of a CEO, named after his chart-topping podcast, and former cabinet minister Rory Stewart nominated for Politics on the Edge.

Newcomer Yomi Adegoke’s The List, about cancel culture and influencers, has also been shortlisted in two categories – Audiobook: Fiction and Debut Fiction.

The 32-year-old told BBC News: “The subject matter of The List made it a risky book to write and an even riskier choice for a debut novel, so receiving two Nibbies nominations is as exciting as it is surprising.

“It is especially rare to see books that are unapologetically about black people, written by black authors, supported within the mainstream this way, so I am so pleased it’s being recognised at one of the biggest book awards in the country.”

A number of the authors nominated have BookTok hits, a hashtag with over 200 billion views on TikTok that refers to a community of book lovers sharing favourite reads and reviews.

Some of the authors with BookTok hits nominated in the pageturner category are:

  • Colleen Hoover, for dark romance It Starts with Us, a sequel to last year’s winner, Verity.
  • R.F Kuang’s satire Yellowface
  • Gabrielle Zevin’s coming-of-age novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  • Rebecca Yarros for her romantasy bestseller Fourth Wing. Yarros is the only author to have two titles shortlisted, with the sequel Iron Flame also nominated in the fiction category.

Award-winning author and illustrator Alice Oseman has also risen to fame on TikTok.

Her chart-topping series Heartstopper includes the UK’s fastest-selling graphic novel to date.

British Book Awards: Prince Harry and Britney Spears memoirs nominated
British Book Awards: Prince Harry and Britney Spears memoirs nominated

Oseman told BBC News she was “incredibly excited” to be shortlisted, in the Children’s Illustrated category.

“Nick and Charlie’s love story has been embraced by so many readers and booksellers and I’ve been blown away by the response,” she said.

“I feel very honoured to have the fifth volume in their story recognised in this way.”

Other authors nominated for children’s literature include:

  • Holocaust survivor Peter Lantos for The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Die
  • Dav Pilkey who wrote and illustrated Dog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea
  • Matt Lucas, for The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas
  • Katherine Rundell, for her novel Impossible Creatures, which won Waterstones Book of the Year 2023

Rundell said: “Any prize that puts books – books which can shake your day into a different shape, crowbar the world open for you – to the forefront of people’s attention is something to treasure.”

Lucas told BBC News the response to his book had been “overwhelming” and he was “really proud” of what it had achieved.

“I’m indebted to my publisher, Farshore, because when I suddenly said, “Oh and by the way, this is going to be a musical novel,” they absolutely ran with it,” he added.

In the children’s non-fiction category Sathnam Sanghera is nominated for Stolen History: The Truth About the British Empire And How It Shaped Us.

In the crime & thriller category, Richard Osman has been nominated, for The Last Devil to Die, the fourth novel in his million-copy bestselling The Thursday Murder Club series.

Murder-mystery stories also feature in the non-fiction lifestyle and Illustrated category, with GT Karber shortlisted for his puzzle book and UK Christmas number-one, Murdle.

The winners of the 12 categories of the British Book Award, known as the Nibbies because of the golden nib-shaped trophy, will be announced on 13 May.

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