British Book Award Judges Announced as the ‘Nibbies’ Entry Deadline Approaches

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With roughly 25 awards on the list, the British Book Awards—the ‘Nibbies’—are selected by a sizable jury of industry players. The deadline for entries is February 9.

Some of the many jurors of the 2018 British Book Awards are pictured, from left, top row: Sarah McIntyre, Daniel Hahn, Syima Aslam, Nick Barley, and Sarah Walden. Second row from left: Pete Selby, Sabine Durrant, David Headley, Kit de Waal, Matt Bates. Third row, from left, Adele Parks, Phil Henderson, Karen Brindle, Gareth Hardy, and Rebecca Davies.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘An Extended Partnership’

A week before submissions close to publishers, agents, authors, illustrators, and booksellers, the British Book Awards program has announced a large part of its roster of jurors.

Entries close on February 9, and the awards ceremony this year is on the evening of May 14, again at London’s Grosvenor House.

“The Nibbies,” as they’re sometimes called, have a lot of jurors because they comprise an extensive list of some 25 prize categories, and that includes this year’s new additions of an “author of the year” and “illustrator of the year” on the “Great People” ledger, plus an audiobooks category that’s been added to the “Books of the Year” division. Our story on the new additions is here.

Naming and mobilizing the required squadron of jurors, The Bookseller—which produces the awards—is today (February 2) releasing the news of its 2018.

In a prepared statement, Bookseller publisher and CEO Nigel Roby is quoted, saying, “The British Book Awards are unique in recognizing that successful books are the result of an extended partnership that starts with the author or illustrator’s genius right through to the efforts of a local bookshop–and the range of our judges reflects this.

“Any title that wins a coveted Book of the Year at the Nibbies will have well and truly earned it.”

Below are some of the jurors for this year’s awards.

Judges in the Books of the Year Categories
  • Matt Bates, fiction buyer for WHSmith Travel
  • Karen Brindle, head of buying for books at Tesco
  • Kit de Waal, Irish Caribbean author from Birmingham
  • Sabine Durrant, author of three psychological thrillers
  • David Headley, Goldsboro Books managing director
  • Charlotte Heathcote, literary editor of the Daily Express and Sunday Express
  • Phil Henderson, buying manager for books at ASDA supermarkets
  • Ali Karim,  Shots eZine assistant editor
  • Mostly Lit Podcast’s Alex Reads, Rai and Derek Owusu
  • Barney Norris, playwright and novelist
  • Adele Parks, bestselling author
  • Nina Pottell, editor of Prima Magazine
  • Caroline Raphael, independent producer
  • Pete Selby, Sainsbury’s books and music head
Judges in the Trade Categories
  • Syima Aslam, Bradford Literature Festival founding director
  • Nick Barley, Edinburgh International Book Festival director
  • Antonia Byatt, interim director of English PEN
  • Daniel Hahn, translator, competition founder
  • Gareth Hardy, chief publisher liaison with Blackwell’s
  • Sarah McIntyre, illustrator and writer, creator of the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign for illustrator recognition
  • Sarah Walden, buying and merchandising functions, Book People
It Takes a Village

There are more members of the publishing community and staffers from The Bookseller and other media who are working with the awards program this year as judges and chair people in various categories.

And, as the Man Booker Prize folks would put it, these are the “evolved” British Book Awards. It was just over a year ago, in January 2017, that The Bookseller editor Philip Jones announced the acquisition of the Nibbies, the British Book Awards, from the estate of Publishing News’ founder, Fred Newman.

Last May, when the awards were presented, the program formally unified the British Book Industry Awards and the British Book Awards for the first time since 2004.

Last year, Pan Macmillan was named Publisher of the Year, while Waterstones was given the Retailer of the Year award. Sarah Perry’s novel The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail) won the overall Book of the Year award. Our complete listing of the 2017 awards is here.

And here’s a promotional video from last year’s awards event.


More coverage of the British Book Awards from Publishing Perspectives is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. Prior to that he was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, a channel at The Bookseller focused on digital publishing. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.

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