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Waterstones Book of the Year 2013 - shortlist announced

A début graphic novel is up against literary heavyweights in the fight for our Book of the Year...

Posted on 31st October 2013 by Waterstones

In a shortlist that showcases a “year of extraordinary publishing” and reflects the books championed by Waterstones booksellers across the country, début graphic novelist Stephen Collins today finds himself head-to-head with literary giants Kate Atkinson and Julian Barnes for the title of Waterstones Book of the Year 2013.

Shortlisted for The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, his critically acclaimed pencil-drawn fairytale for adults, Collins will battle it out with two of the biggest names in the literary world: Atkinson, for her novel Life After Life, whose protagonist has the opportunity to live her life again and again in a bid to get it right; and former Man Booker Prize-winner Barnes, whose Levels of Life, a blend of essay, fiction and memoir dealing with the death of his beloved wife, literary agent Pat Kavanagh, represents his most personal work to date.

In a list dominated by British writers, just two of the titles are written by authors from overseas: Maps, an illustrated map of the world by Polish husband-and-wife team Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński; and Stoner, a near-forgotten 1965 novel by the late American author John Williams, which became one of the most talked about books of the year, with high-profile fans including Ian McEwan, Bret Easton Ellis and Tom Hanks.

The shortlist is completed by Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life, Nina Stibbe’s charming collection of letters home to her sister, describing her trials and triumphs as a working-class nanny to a well-heeled London family.

Waterstones booksellers across the country were asked to nominate the book they thought deserved the title of Book of the Year. 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.

‘We have enjoyed another year of extraordinary publishing with our booksellers championing a great array of titles." said Waterstones Managing Director James Daunt. "As you would expect, they have selected an eclectic and surprising shortlist for our Book of the Year, all fabulous books that are distinctively inspiring and which I am sure will provoke as much passionate interest from our customers as they already have from our booksellers.’

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 3rd December.

Last year’s winner was Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook, by Russell Norman.


The Shortlist

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson (Doubleday)
Levels of Life, Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape)
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, Stephen Collins (Jonathan Cape)
Maps, Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński (Big Picture Press)
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family LifeNina Stibbe (Viking)
Stoner, John Williams (Vintage Classics)