The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Indie Books of the Month announced for December

Indie Book of the Month - December 2020

The Booksellers Association has named The Devil and The Dark Water by Stuart Turton as its Fiction Book of the Month for December, and The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, as Children’s Book of the Month. Both titles were winners at this year’s Books Are My Bag Readers Award, announced in an online ceremony in November.

From the bestselling author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Devil and The Dark Water won Fiction Category at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, and tells the story of a mysterious sea journey in 1634 from the Dutch West Indies to Amsterdam. Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to face trial for a crime he may not have committed, joined onboard by his loyal bodyguard and a noblewoman with a secret. When supernatural occurrences begin to terrorise the crew, they must solve a mystery that stretches far back into the past, and threatens to sink the ship and kill all those onboard. The Devil and The Dark Water is published by Raven Books and is available in bookshops now. 

Author Stuart Turton said on the book’s selection, “There are a million things I need to thank independent bookshops for, not least of which is keeping me in a job by selling and promoting my books with such passion and skill. Lately though, the thing I'm most grateful for is their ability to immediately summon up the perfect book to keep my two-year-old daughter occupied. Every week, somewhere on our travels, we'll find ourselves in an independent bookshop asking for a recommendation from a lovely staff member, and it's always perfect. Seeing my daughter's joy as we walk in the door is such a delight for me, and I'm so grateful to these stores for creating such magical spaces for her to explore.”

Winner of the Children’s Fiction Award at the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2020, The Highland Falcon Thief is the first book in a new mystery series entitled Adventures on Trains, following eleven year old Harrison as he reluctantly joins his Uncle Nat for the last journey on the royal steam train, The Highland Falcon. But when a priceless brooch goes missing and the passengers fall under suspicion, Harrison decides to play detective… The Highland Falcon Thief is published by Macmillan Children’s Book and is available now. 

Author Sam Sedgman said, "Independent booksellers are cheerleaders, champions, travel agents, detectives, teachers, therapists, advocates and friends. I am forever grateful to indie bookshops for always finding me the perfect book, and for finding my books the perfect readers. Thank you."

Author M.G. Leonard commented, “There is no more welcoming, magical and inspiring place than a bookshop. Right now, we need to do what we can to make sure bookshops will be able to keep their doors open and continue to offer those safe spaces in future months and years. It’s a real honour to win the Books Are My Bag Readers Award and to be the Children’s Book of the Month for December in these testing times, and I hope that all of us readers will show our beloved booksellers a bit of extra socially distanced love this Christmas.”

Illustrator Elisa Paganelli added, "There are two places in the world where I feel home: the forest and bookstores."   

Marketing Manager at the Booksellers Association Sharon Benton, said of the December picks, “We are delighted that these two great books, voted as winners in the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, are also the Books of the Month for December. There is so much love around for bookshops, especially at the moment, as is testified by the wonderful quotes from the authors of these titles.”  

Independent bookshops around the UK and Ireland will be promoting The Devil and The Dark Water and The Highland Falcon Thief throughout December, both in-store and on social media. The Booksellers Association will be supporting the promotion of the Indie Books of the Month through social media and promotional material.