Pointless presenter Richard Osman wins top Books Are My Bag Readers award for his The Thursday Murder Club - plus all the other winners

Readers across the UK and Ireland have crowned The Thursday Murder Club, the record-breaking debut novel by Pointless and House of Games presenter Richard Osman, as their book of the year.

Readers across the UK and Ireland have crowned The Thursday Murder Club, the record-breaking debut novel by Pointless and House of Games presenter Richard Osman, as their book of the year, in the award’s unique open vote Readers’ Choice category.
Readers across the UK and Ireland have crowned The Thursday Murder Club, the record-breaking debut novel by Pointless and House of Games presenter Richard Osman, as their book of the year, in the award’s unique open vote Readers’ Choice category.

All the winners of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2021 – the only book awards curated by bookshops and voted for by readers, sponsored by National Book Tokens – were revealed in the first in-person event at Foyles Charing Cross Road on Tuesday November 9.

The event was hosted by Claudia Winkleman.

Osman's debut novel won the unique open vote Readers’ Choice category. The book was hailed by the Guardian as the “fastest selling adult crime debut” in recorded history and sold 45,000 copies in its first three days on sale, becoming an instant Sunday Times number one bestseller.

The first in-person event at Foyles Charing Cross Road since the pandemic was hosted by Claudia Winkleman.

Sarah Winman’s Still Life, a stunning historical fiction novel set in Second World War Italy, took home the Fiction award; American poet Amanda Gorman won in the Poetry category with The Hill We Climb, the poem she recited at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, while Anita Sethi’s lyrical memoir I Belong Here won the Non-Fiction award.

Footballer Marcus Rashford MBE, author of You Are A Champion, co-written with journalist Carl Anka, was crowned Breakthrough Author of the year; the instant New York Times best-seller Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé won in the Young Adult Fiction category; and the Children’s Fiction award went to When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle, described by Michael Morpurgo as “deeply felt, movingly written, a remarkable achievement".

The 2021 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards Winners, as chosen by readers:

Fiction

Footballer Marcus Rashford, author of You Are A Champion, co-written with journalist Carl Anka, was crowned Breakthrough Author of the year

Still Life by Sarah Winman (4th Estate)

Non-Fiction

I Belong Here by Anita Sethi (Bloomsbury)

Poetry

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman (Chatto & Windus)

Young Adult Fiction

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Usborne)

Children’s Fiction

When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle (Andersen Press)

Breakthrough Author

Marcus Rashford, author of You Are A Champion with journalist Carl Anka (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Reader’s Choice

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking Press)

Richard Osman said: “I’m absolutely thrilled beyond words to win this award. Thank you Booksellers Association, thank you Books Are My Bag. To win an award voted for by readers is the absolute dream. It means a great deal.”

Amanda Gorman, author of The Hill We Climb, said: “Thank you so much booksellers and readers for voting The Hill We Climb as BAMB’s winner of its Poetry award. This means so much to me as booksellers and readers really are the guardians of literature. You all help keep stories alive, so thank you so much for the support – it means so much to me.”

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, now in their sixth year, are the only book awards with a shortlist curated by booksellers, and winners voted for by readers.

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.

For more information visit www.booksaremybag.com