Books Are My Bag Readers Awards - Novel Award

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are one of a kind. They're the only book awards with shortlists curated by bookshops - and the only major awards voted for by book-lovers. These awards are organised by the Booksellers Association and sponsored by National Book Tokens.

The Winner

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead - Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, takes a terrifying risk and escapes with another slave, headed for the Underground Railroad. This suspenseful tale of escape and pursuit combines elements of fantasy with an unflinching, painfully truthful depiction of American slavery.

The Shortlist

Birdcage Walk
By Helen Dunmore

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore - It is 1792 and Europe is in political turmoil. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles but is now married to a property developer who has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith - Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about black bodies and what it means to be free. Bursting with energy, Swing Time is Zadie Smith's most ambitious novel yet.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney - Frances, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin, is drawn in by an older woman and her husband and soon finds her life and relationships spinning out of control.

The End We Start From
By Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter - In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting.

Hot Milk
By Deborah Levy

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy - Sofia, a young anthropologist, travels to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain with her mother, seeking help from a famous consultant - their very last chance - for her mother's lifelong and unexplainable illness.


The other Books Are My Bag awards categories are here: Non-Fiction, Middle Great 7 - 11, Young Adult and Popular Fiction