Industry Notes: Norway’s ‘Bookstore Award,’ the UK’s SpecSavers Winners

In News by Porter Anderson

The winner of  Norway’s 2018 ‘Bookstore Award,’ chosen by booksellers, is a novel based on the country’s World War II-era past. And in the UK, SpecSavers names a dozen prize winners.

Seasonal decor in Oslo. Image – iStockphoto: Serbek

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

Sold Into 11 Languages So Far
The 2018 edition of the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize has been won by Simon Stranger for his novel Keep Saying Their Names (Leksikon om lys og mørke) published by Aschehoug forlag.

Simon Stranger

The award is conferred by the Bokhandler-foreningen, the booksellers’ association, and comes with a bronze sculpture by Nils Aes titled Thank You for the Book. Both adult and children’s books are eligible for the prize, which is decided in votes from bookstores throughout the country. Established in 1948, the prize since 1981 has been known as the Bookstore Award.

Since 2008, the program’s rules have established a shortlist of 10 titles from which a second vote produces the winner.

This year’s shortlist:

Stranger’s book, which also has won this year’s Riksmål Prizehas already been sold into 11 languages so far, according to Oslo Literary Agency’s Annette Orre, including:

  • English/US: Knopf Doubleday
  • CatalanEmpuries: Grup 62
  • Czech: Omega
  • Danish: Politikens Forlag
  • Dutch: HarperCollins Holland
  • Faroese: Sprotin
  • French: Editions Globe
  • German: Eichborn Verlag
  • Hungarian: Scholar
  • Spanish: Seix Barral
  • Swedish: Bokförlaget Polaris

The book is based in actual family history, as described by promotional materials: “Learning that his wife’s mother grew up in the infamous ‘Bandeklosteret,’ where the Rinnan group gathered to scheme, feast and torture prisoners in the basement, author Simon Stranger starts excavating the story of the Jewish Kommisar family, both those who lived and those whose life came to an abrupt end.

“In doing so, he faces humanity at its darkest, personified through a young man whose descent into evil made a crucial, direct and indirect impact on this family’s lives.”

At the book’s heart is the story of Henry Rinnan from Trøndelag who became one of the most hated criminals in Norwegian history; a double agent killing Norwegians for the Nazis.


Pullman, Kay, Alderton Lead SpecSavers Wins

Philip Pullman has been named the UK Author of the Year in the Specsavers National Book Awards in the UK, with Ireland’s Sally Rooney named International Author of the Year.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the program has an especially big raft of shortlists, in part to help stimulate holiday-season shopping interest for many worthy titles.

Despite the announcement of winners here, there also is another honor to drop, as public voting is now underway for an overall winner who is to be announced on December 30. Votes may be cast here.

In a televised event the organizers describe variously as “dazzling,” “glamorous,” and “star-studded,” tape was captured to be turned around for segments in host Zoe Ball’s Christmas TV specials in the UK, December 22 and 23.

2018 Specsavers (UK) National Book Awards

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Fiction, HC)

Autobiography/Biography of the Year

  • Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (Fig Tree, Penguin General, PRH)

Food and Drink Book of the Year

  • Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, PRH)

Audiobook of the Year

  • The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, read by Benedict Cumberbatch (Audio, PRH)

Crime/Thriller Book of the Year

  • Snap by Belinda Bauer (Transworld, PRH )

Popular Nonfiction Book of the Year

  • This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Children’s Book of the Year

  • Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks illustrated by Quinton Winter (Quercus, Hachette)

Young Adult Book of the Year

  • Feminists Don’t Wear Pink edited by Scarlett Curtis (Penguin Children’s Books, PRH)

Audible New Writer of the Year

  • Adam Kay – This Is Going To Hurt (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Specsavers Zoë’s Book Club (#ZBOS) Book of the Year

  • Adam Kay – This Is Going To Hurt (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

UK Author of the Year

  • Philip Pullman – La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Vol. 1 (Penguin and David Fickling Books, PRH)

International Author of the Year

  • Sally Rooney – Normal People (Faber & Faber)

More from Publishing Perspectives on book, author, and publishing awards is here. More from our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.