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Awards and Accolades: Literary Prize Winners of 2019

Posted on 20th November 2019 by Mark Skinner

Across all genres and age ranges, 2019's spread of literary prizes rewarded some truly outstanding books. From cutting edge poetry to compelling non-fiction and from fictional masterpieces to future children's classics, here is a selection of the key literary award winners. 

The Waterstones Book of the Year 

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Waterstones Book of the Year 2019, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was an instant favourite with our booksellers. A book to bring people together, Charlie Mackesy’s inspirational paintings and delicate calligraphic text are a celebration of kindness, compassion and understanding, conveying an essential message for our time.
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The Waterstones Author of the Year - Greta Thunberg

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A celebration of our Author of the Year 2019, this special edition of Greta Thunberg’s No One is Too Small to Make a Difference is a defining record of a seismic political and cultural moment. Including five new speeches alongside intimate family photographs, this is essential reading from a voice for our time.
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The Waterstones Children's Book of the Year

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When a new boy joins their class, a group of children try to befriend him. They soon learn that Ahmet is a refugee and has been separated from his family. Based in part on the stories she encountered when working in refugee camps, Onjali Q. Raúf’s remarkable debut is an unforgettable story of hope, curiosity and the importance of kindness.
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The Booker Prize Winners

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In this electrifying sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalised readers for 33 years: What happened to Offred? Since 1985, Margaret Atwood's vision has only grown in significance, becoming a rallying call around the world. Now The Testaments finally reveals, for the very first time, Margaret Atwood's vision of Gilead's future.
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Tracking the lives and loves of a dozen British women through generations and social classes, Girl, Woman, Other weaves a distinctive, illuminating tapestry of modern British life.
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The Costa Book of the Year

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Former war reporter and author of The Good War, Jack Fairweather brings an expert’s understanding to the first history of Witold Pilecki, the Polish resistance agent who infiltrated Auschwitz, feeding back vital intelligence to the Allied forces. Impeccably researched and grippingly written, Fairweather’s important book illuminates the life of a forgotten hero.
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The Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

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A tender and humane dissection of what happens to a relationship when unforeseen events conspire to sabotage it, Tayari Jones’s story subtly probes issues of race and justice with a piercing emotional intelligence and colossal heart.
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The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction Winner

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A passionate condemnation of the misogyny Jack the Ripper's victims have been held in for over a century, The Five tells an engrossing group biography of Victorian womanhood, blighted by poverty and powerless against casual and constant abuse.
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The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

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A story of a vast, unknown and interconnected world above the one we know, Richard Powers' thirteenth book brings together the lives of strangers, each summoned by trees. Arching from antebellum New York to late twentieth-century Pacific Northwest, it is a glorious, ambitious novel of how we can learn to recognise a history and pattern to the world beyond our own.
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The British Book Awards Book of the Year

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Capturing the zeitgeist with all the skill and subtlety of her debut, Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney’s Normal People is both a study of how one person can irrevocably shape another, and a profound examination of love, power and influence.
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The Crime Writing Association Gold Dagger 

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A serial killer is burning people alive amongst ancient stone circles in this deeply disturbing and thoroughly engrossing thriller. Laced with just the right amount of mordant wit and featuring a troubled detective to rival the titans of the genre, The Puppet Show is ‘dark, sharp and compelling,’ according to bestselling crime writer Peter James.
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The Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner

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There’s wild invention and then there is Rosewater, the initial instalment in Tade Thompson’s magnificently-realised trilogy Wormwood. Dipping between genres, from biopunk thriller to enthralling futurism, Thompson unspools even the most fantastical of narrative elements with precision and wit.
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The William Hill Sports Book of the Year

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One expert chronicler of the game pays tribute to another, as award-winning cricket scribe Duncan Hamilton tells the story of Neville Cardus, the inter-war commentator who made the sport sing. Written with Hamilton’s customary elegance and linguistic panache this is a fascinating biography of a largely forgotten figure.
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The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize Winner

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The award-winning author behind Landmarks, The Lost Words and The Old Ways returns to consider that truly hidden ocean of our landscape: the secrets beneath our feet. Regarding vast, underground networks of tree communication, Bronze Age burial chambers or remote Arctic sea-caves, Macfarlane is peerless in deploying his unique command of language to illuminate the unknown.

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The Orwell Prize for Political Writing Winner

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Say Nothing presents the disappearance of a mother of ten in 1970s Belfast as a microcosm of the grueling Northern Irish troubles as a whole. Keefe condemns a culture of silence and blind sectarian loyalty for exacerbating the sufferings of ordinary people, in this vitally important and brave slice of investigative journalism.
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The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction Winner

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Anna Burns’ blistering novel displaces the Northern Irish troubles to a nameless city populated by anonymous citizens. The power games and creeping psychopathy of Milkman’s central relationship expertly echo the toxic atmosphere and fanaticism of bullet-riddled Belfast, succeeding in making the novel a powerful political statement as well as a brilliantly disquieting study of ruinous obsession.
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The Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection Winner

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A breath-taking tour de force that draws unflinching and uncomfortable parallels between the bestial activities of Ancient gods and the toxic immorality of modern society, Vertigo and Ghost builds on the dissonant connections of Bright Travellers to create a poetry of searing honesty and uncompromising ethical heft.
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The CILIP Carnegie Medal Winner

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The Poet X is a raw, effervescent debut novel about the power of language and speaking your own truth. Written entirely in verse, this Waterstones Children’s Book Prize nominee follows the trials and tribulations of Xiomara, a teenager growing up in a tough Harlem neighbourhood, and her creative release in the world of slam poetry.
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The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Winner

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A soaring visual hymn to the vanishing poetry of the countryside, The Lost Words is a transcendent union of image and language that makes an urgent case for the re-wilding of modern childhood. Breathtakingly beautiful in its design and production, this really is a book to treasure forever.
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