The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2022 winners announced

Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper has been revealed as readers’ favourite book of the year at tonight’s Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2022, sponsored by National Book Tokens – the only book awards curated by bookshops and chosen by readers.
Announced at an awards ceremony held at Foyles Charing Cross Road and hosted by Liz Fenwick, the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards honoured the best books of the year, as selected by a judging panel of booksellers and voted for by readers.
Winning in the Readers’ Choice category, where the winner is crowned exclusively by readers, Alice Oseman took home an overwhelming number of votes for her young adult graphic novel Heartstopper. The book has sold over one million print copies and has been adapted for a Netflix series which came out in April 2022, receiving over 52.1 million views to date. After crowd-funding a limited print-run edition, in which she met her funding goal in less than two hours, Alice published Heartstopper Volume One in spring 2019 with Hachette Children’s Group, followed by Volume Two in July of the same year. Since then, Hachette Children’s Group has published two further volumes and a colouring book.

Alice Oseman also won the Breakthrough Author award with another outstanding number of votes for her Heartstopper series. In an exceptionally strong year for LGBTQ+ authors and books, The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye, a wide-ranging and multi-layered exploration at what it means to be transgender in modern Britain won the Non-Fiction award. Juno Dawson’s Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, which follows a top-secret government department of witches, won the Fiction award. Erik J. Brown’s atmospheric debut All That’s Left in the World, which blends a queer love story with a post-apocalyptic thriller took home the YA Fiction award. Lemn Sissay’s The Fire People, a collection of British Black and Asian Poetry, won in the Poetry category. The Children’s Fiction award went to Loki: A Bad God’s Guide To Being Good by Louie Stowell, the doddle-heavy diary of trickster god Loki, which was also Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for February 2022.
The 2022 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards Winners, as chosen by readers:
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (HarperCollins)
The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye (Penguin Books)
The Fire People by Lemn Sissay (Canongate Books)
Young Adult Fiction
All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown (Hachette Children’s Group)
Children’s Fiction
Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell (Walker Books)
Breakthrough Author
Alice Oseman, author of the Heartstopper series (Hachette and HarperCollins)
Readers’ Choice
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman (Hachette Children’s Group)
Alice Oseman, author of the Heartstopper series, said: “Thank you so much everyone for voting for Heartstopper as the Readers’ Choice. Thank you to everyone who’s been involved in the journey of Heartstopper over the years. It’s been such an amazing year for Heartstopper, so this award really means a lot.”
Juno Dawson, author of Her Majesty's Royal Coven, said: “Winning this prize is truly the cherry on top of an amazing year. As soon as proofs of Her Majesty's Royal Coven went out last December, the enthusiasm shown by booksellers has been overwhelming and joyful. I had so much fun writing this book, and it means the world that readers are having as much fun reading it. I never expected a feminist fantasy novel exploring institutional transphobia to win any prizes, so this comes as a lovely, and welcome, surprise.”
Erik J. Brown, author of All That’s Left in the World, said: “It is such an incredible honour to be accepting this award. Thank you so much to the booksellers who chose this shortlist of amazing books this year, and especially to the readers who chose All That’s Left in the World. Releasing a debut novel is not easy;, releasing one during the pandemic is even more difficult; and releasing a debut novel about a pandemic, during a pandemic is pretty rough! The response from readers and booksellers has been absolutely incredible – I can’t thank you enough.”
Shon Faye, author of The Transgender Issue, said: “Winning the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Award – which was shortlisted by booksellers and voted for by readers – is not only a huge honour, but mirrors the entire trajectory of The Transgender Issue’s success in the UK. Its influence on the public conversation has been entirely due to the overwhelming support of booksellers and the enthusiasm of readers in a country where both the media and government have abjured their responsibilities to treat trans people with fairness, dignity and honesty. We are living in a bleak time for the protection of human rights in the UK. This award is such a meaningful endorsement of the book’s message which is even more needed now than when I was writing it nearly three years ago. I’m forever grateful to all the retailers and readers who continue to introduce the book’s discussion of trans liberation to others.”
Louie Stowell, author of Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good, said: “I'm absolutely thrilled that Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good has won an award that's chosen by both booksellers and readers. Being earnest is very off-brand for Loki, but it's genuinely heart-warming to know that my chaotic hero has found his (and sometimes her) people.”
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, now in their seventh year, are the only book awards with shortlists curated by booksellers, and winners chosen by readers. The shortlist judging panel comprised: David Coates (Blackwell’s Manchester), Alex Call (Bert’s Books), Helen Tamblyn-Saville (Wonderland Bookshop), Juliet Johnson (Foyles Charing Cross Road) and Gaby Lee (Waterstones).
The awards were presented on the night by the following booksellers: John Webb (WHSmith), Darran McLaughlin (Bookhaus), Hazel Broadfoot (Village Books), David Coates (Blackwell’s Manchester), Helen Tamblyn-Saville (Wonderland Bookshop), Alex Call (Bert’s Books) and Gaby Lee (Waterstones).

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 and their importance for our high-streets.
For more information visit and follow the latest developments on social media @BooksAreMyBag / #BAMBReadersAwards