Waterstones Book of the Year

Waterstones, the nation's leading bookseller, praises the variety and depth of publishing that has taken place in 2012, as it announces the shortlist of the inaugural Waterstones Book of the Year.

The shortlist is notable for its eclectic range of non-fiction titles, leaving space for just two works of fiction: Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning Bring Up The Bodies; and HHhH by French writer Laurent Binet, the universally acclaimed debut novel in translation. Both works of historical fiction, the former features Thomas Cromwell as its main character, whilst the latter is the Second World War thriller praised by Martin Amis and Bret Easton Ellis.

The non-fiction titles in the running for the accolade span many genres, and include: The Old Ways, a celebrated meditation on walking, writing and the British landscape by award-winning nature and travel writer Robert Macfarlane; Polpo, the cookbook from one of London's hottest restaurateurs, Russell Norman; and On the Map by polymath Simon Garfield, a witty and irrepressible examination of how maps both fascinate us and realign our history. The six-strong shortlist is completed by Artemis Cooper's celebrated biography of war hero and travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor.

The title crowned Book of the Year will receive the full and committed backing of Waterstones branches and booksellers across the UK during the crucial shopping month of December, as well as support online and through its Loyalty Card programme, which reaches 1.5 million readers.

The winning title will be chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by James Daunt, and will be announced on the evening of Thursday 29th November at the Waterstones Christmas Party, which will take place at the bookseller's King's Road shop in Chelsea (London). As well as the support of the entire Waterstones business, the winning author will also receive a case of champagne.

Waterstones Managing Director James Daunt said: "In an extremely strong year of publishing, we have an exceptional shortlist for our Book of the Year. They have such singular attributes, it will be fascinating to see which emerges the winner."

The shortlist in full:

Notes to Editors

Waterstones Book of the Year

Waterstones booksellers across the country were asked to nominate the book they thought deserved the title. They were asked to choose a book that stood out in its field, and that would speak to the company's core customers - those people who love reading and that love books.


The Waterstones business is the UK's leading high street bookseller, operating through 288 shops across the UK and Ireland, employing over 4,000 people. Waterstones is the only national specialist book retailer of scale in the UK, with the average sized shop merchandising a range of around 30,000 individual books, with 200,000 titles in the largest shop. Waterstones was acquired by A&NN Group, an investment subsidiary of the family trust associated with international investor and businessman, Alexander Mamut, from HMV Group PLC on 29th June 2011.

Waterstones.com lists over 2 million books and offers free delivery to any UK address or Waterstones shop.