The UK’s New Nero Book Awards Name Their First Category Winners

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The successor to the Costa Book Awards, the new Nero Book Awards, grind their way toward their first ‘Nero Gold Prize’ winner.

Image: Nero Book Awards

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

Another Cuppa: The UK’s Newly Caffeinated Book Awards
As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the slightly peculiar if admirable mantle of a coffee company with its own book award passed in December to the Nero Book Awards in the United Kingdom.

This is natural in two ways.

Now, with a second major British purveyor of coffee in place as a generous new seat of competition for more golden stickers on book covers, the new Neros program has named its first set of category winners, reported here today (January 30). Three writers among the four named today are being honored for their debut publications: Beth Lincoln, Michael McGee, and Fern Brady.

Like the Costa, this program has both category winners and an overall winner, the latter of which is drawn from those category winners.

  • The four categories—we’ll refresh them below with their respective shortlisted titles—pay £5,000 (US$6,349) to each of their winners.
  • The overall “Nero Gold Prize” winner is the lucky one to snag an even bigger bag of beans, an additional and handsome £30,000 purse, along with the tight-smiling envy of the three who don’t (US$38,090).

As with the Costa, the new Nero—like the Parliamentary Book Awards, as well, as we were just writing Monday—runs “a year behind,” to put it in an unflattering way: The awards named today and the Gold Prize to come, are for 2023,  not 2024. While the cycles of various awards make this the case at times, it’s never, actually, quite as gratifying, especially for laureates, because they immediately sound like “last year’s winners.”

The (2023) big winner—the Nero Gold Prize winner of what’s also called the Book of the Year—is to be named at a ceremony in London on March 14. That fortunate author of the four named here today will be chosen by a jury led by Bernardine Evaristo.

Nero Book Awards Category Winners

In listing the category winners here, we will include their competitors in each group among the nominees, as well as the pertinent jurors of each section.

Each winner is referenced in bold.

Children’s Fiction

Jurors: Urmi Merchant, Dave Rudden, and Nick Sheridan.

  • Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (Bloomsbury Young Adult)
  • Bitterthorn by Kat Dunn (Andersen Press)
  • Wild Song by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling)
  • The Swifts by Beth Lincoln (Penguin Random House / Puffin), illustrated by Claire Powell

Debut Fiction

Jurors: Sara Collins, Hattie Crisell, and Tom Robinson.

  • The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro (Bloomsbury Circus)
  • The New Life by Tom Crewe (Penguin Random House / Chatto & Windus)
  • Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth (Verve Books)
  • Close To Home by Michael Magee (Penguin Random House / Hamish Hamilton)

Fiction

Jurors: David Coates, Ella Dove, Anthony Quinn.

  • Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Granta)
  • The Bee Sting by Paul Murray (Penguin Random House / Hamish Hamilton)
  • Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan (Penguin Random House / Jonathan Cape)
  • Fifteen Wild Decembers by Karen Powell (Europa Editions)

Nonfiction

Jurors: Ben Garrod, Sarfraz Manzoor, Helen Stanton.

  • Strong Female Character by Fern Brady (Hachette / Brazen)
  • The Tidal Year: A Memoir on Grief, Swimming, and Sisterhood by Freya Bromley (Hachette / Hodder & Stoughton / Coronet)
  • Undercurrent: A Cornish Memoir of Poverty, Nature, and Resilience by Natasha Carthew (Hachette / Hodder & Stoughton / Coronet)
  • Hags: The Demonization of Middle-Aged Women by Victoria Smith (Hachette / Fleet)

The Nero Book Awards are limited to honoring writers based in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Costa Book Awards is here, more on international book and publishing awards overall is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s book publishing market 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 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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