The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2021 winners announced

The winners of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2021 – the only book awards curated by bookshops and voted for by readers, sponsored by National Book Tokens – have been revealed tonight, in the first in-person event at Foyles Charing Cross Road since the pandemic, hosted by Claudia Winkleman.

Readers across the UK and Ireland have crowned The Thursday Murder Club, the record-breaking debut novel by Pointless and House of Games presenter Richard Osman, as their book of the year, in the award’s unique open vote Readers’ Choice category. The book was hailed by the Guardian as the “fastest selling adult crime debut” in recorded history and sold 45,000 copies in its first three days on sale, becoming an instant Sunday Times number one bestseller.
Meanwhile, Sarah Winman’s Still Life, a stunning historical fiction novel set in WWII Italy, took home the Fiction award; American poet Amanda Gorman won in the Poetry category with The Hill We Climb, the poem she recited at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, while Anita Sethi’s lyrical memoir I Belong Here won the Non-Fiction award. Footballer Marcus Rashford MBE, author of You Are A Champion, co-written with journalist Carl Anka, was crowned Breakthrough Author of the year; the instant New York Times best-seller Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé won in the Young Adult Fiction category; and the Children’s Fiction award went to When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle, described by Michael Morpurgo as “deeply felt, movingly written, a remarkable achievement.”
The 2021 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards Winners, as chosen by readers:
Still Life by Sarah Winman (4th Estate)
I Belong Here by Anita Sethi (Bloomsbury)
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman (Chatto & Windus)
Young Adult Fiction
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Usborne)
Children’s Fiction
When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle (Andersen Press)
Breakthrough Author
Marcus Rashford, author of You Are A Champion with journalist Carl Anka (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Reader’s Choice
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking Press)
Richard Osman, author of The Thursday Murder Club, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled beyond words to win this award. Thank you Booksellers Association, thank you Books Are My Bag. To win an award voted for by readers is the absolute dream. It means a great deal.”
Amanda Gorman, author of The Hill We Climb, said: “Thank you so much booksellers and readers for voting The Hill We Climb as BAMB’s winner of its Poetry award. This means so much to me as booksellers and readers really are the guardians of literature. You all help keep stories alive, so thank you so much for the support – it means so much to me.”
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, now in their sixth year, are the only book awards with a shortlist curated by booksellers, and winners voted for by readers. The shortlist judging panel comprised: Nessa Urquhart (Waterstones), Elaine Stabler (Blackwell’s), Jude Brosnan (Stanfords), Annie Rhodes (Norfolk Children’s Book Centre) Amanda Truman (Truman Books), James Firth (The Stripey Badger) and Tony West (The Alligator’s Mouth).

National Book Tokens is the headline sponsor of the Books Are My Bag Readers  Awards, which are part of Books Are My Bag, the annual campaign highlighting the joy of buying books in local bookshops.
For more information visit and follow the latest developments on social media @BooksAreMyBag / #BAMBReadersAwards