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The only book awards curated by bookshops and chosen by readers like you!

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards logo 2023At National Book Tokens, we're proud to sponsor the only book awards that reflect the truly diverse tastes of real booklovers and the bookshops they love to visit. Each year, booksellers nominate their favourite books, and shortlists across six categories are curated by a panel from both chain and independent bookshops. Voting is then handed over to the book loving public, with a seventh and final category – Readers' Choice – chosen entirely by readers.

This year's winners were announced on 7th November at Foyles on Charing Cross Road. Watch the ceremony below, and find out who won - plus get your hands on a set of all the winning books over on Caboodle.

We gave everyone who voted the chance to win one of five £100/€120 National Book Tokens. Congratulations to Sally, Suzy, Fiona, Ameerah and Allie, who'll each be enjoying a shopping spree in their favourite bookshop this autumn.


Win a set of Readers Awards winning books

Watch the ceremony

Explore the winners

See this year's shortlists


Visit the Books Are My Bag site to read about previous winners of the awards.


The Winners


Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners 2023

The 2023 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners, as chosen by readers, are:

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Vintage)

Strong Female Character by Fern Brady (Brazen)

The Cat Prince & Other Poems by Michael Pedersen (Little Brown)

Children's Fiction
Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury)

Young Adult Fiction
Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (Bloomsbury)

Breakthrough Author
Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry (Transworld)

Readers' Choice
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Transworld)

Watch the Ceremony


Discover this year's shortlists


From original and inventive fiction which confronts some of the pressing issues of our time, to powerful memoirs, poetry and beautifully crafted children's and YA titles, this year's shortlists, as ever, reflect the very real tastes and interests of readers today, and the books that local bookshops know their communities are clamouring to read. 

The category shortlists for this year's awards were curated by a panel of booksellers, including:

  • Nick Campbell, Children's Buyer at Waterstones
  • Kirsty Hurst, Firm Sales/Special Books Buyer for WHSmith
  • Peri Cimen, Assistant Manager at Green Heart Books
  • Juliana Ocampo, Sales Advisor at Stanfords
  • Richard Smartt, co-owner of The Book Ends
  • Red Newsom, lead bookseller at Blackwell's Manchester
  • Marie Moser, owner of The Edinburgh Bookshop

Readers' Choice Award

Chosen exclusively by you, the reader.


Every year, thousands of booklovers discover brilliant new books in their local bookshop. This is your chance to nominate your book of the year; the book which most captivated, entertained or inspired you over the last 12 months, whether it was a newly-published novel or non-fiction title, or a classic you finally picked up and enjoyed.


Fiction Shortlist


Fiction Shortlist


Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Vintage) – A tale of human connection, creativity and collaboration. Two children who meet in a hospital go on to pursue their dreams and identities through the production of video games, but along with success, money and fame come betrayal and tragedy.

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Faber & Faber) – Inspired by Dickens' David Copperfield, Kingsolver takes readers on Demon’s journey through the modern perils of foster care, child labour, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, the dizzying highs of true love, and the crushing losses that can accompany it.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (Pan Macmillan) – The award-winning author of Station Eleven, returns with a novel that captures the reality of our current moment. When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended.

Yellowface by Rebecca F. Kuang (HarperCollins Publishers) – From the author of Babel comes a story of ambition and white privilege. When Athena dies in a freak accident, June steals her manuscript and publishes it as her own, but how far will she go to keep her career?

Non-Fiction Shortlist


Non-Fiction Shortlist

Ultra Processed People by Chris van Tulleken (Cornerstone) – A journey through the world of food science and a UPF diet. Find out why exercise and willpower can't save us, and what UPF is really doing to our bodies, our health, our weight, and the planet.

Why Women Grow by Alice Vincent (Canongate) – An exploration of why women turn to the earth, as gardeners, growers and custodians. Vincent fosters connections with gardeners that unfurl into a tender exploration of women's lives, their gardens and what the ground has offered them.

Pageboy by Elliot Page (Transworld) – This bestselling memoir from actor and trans activist, Page, reflects on gender, mental health and Hollywood. Pageboy looks at what it means to untangle ourselves from the expectations of others and to step into who we truly are. 

Strong Female Character by Fern Brady (Brazen) – Fern Brady was told she couldn't be autistic because she's had loads of boyfriends and is good at eye contact. This is a memoir of neurodiversity, sexism and defying expectations.

Poetry Shortlist


Poetry Shortlist

Divisible By Itself and One by Kae Tempest (Pan Macmillan) – A book engaged with the big questions and the emotional states in which we live and create. Divisible by Itself and One is concerned with integrity: how to live in honest relationship with oneself and others.

More Fiya by Kayo Chingonyi (Canongate) – DJ Kayo Chingonyi brings together a selection of exceptional Black British poets. This is his dream mixtape featuring a cross-generational span of current poets extending and inhabiting the spirits of the ancestors.

Bad Diaspora Poems by Momtaza Mehri (Vintage) – The definition of diaspora is the dispersion of people from their original homeland. But what does it mean to write diaspora poetry? Momtaza Mehri's debut collection poses this question, taking us from Mogadishu to Naples, Lampedusa to London.

The Cat Prince & Other Poems by Michael Pedersen (Little Brown) – The third collection from prize-winning poet, and author of Boy Friends. All moggy moxie, Pedersen croons to the beauty and devastation of love, loss, friendship, cats and careless joy.


Young Adult Fiction Shortlist


Young Adult Fiction Shortlist

Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (Bloomsbury) – Gwen, the quick-witted Princess of England, and Arthur, future duke and general gadabout, have been betrothed since birth. Unfortunately, the only thing they can agree on is that they hate each other. The path to true love is far from straight...

Promise Boys by Nick Brooks (Pan Macmillan) – A trailblazing, blockbuster YA mystery about three teen boys of colour who must investigate their principal's murder to clear their own names.

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (Faber & Faber) – Yami prefers to be known for killer eyeliner, not for being the Mexican kid at her new school – or for being gay. But it's hard to fake being straight when the only openly queer girl at school is so perfect.

Girl, Goddess, Queen by Bea Fitzgerald (Penguin) – Persephone wasn't taken to hell: she jumped. No way was she going to be married off to some god more in love with himself than her. Now all she has to do is convince Hades to go with her plan.


Children's Fiction Shortlist 


Children's Fiction Shortlist

Jamie by L. D. Lapinski (Hachette Children's Group) – Jamie is a happy 11-year-old non-binary kid who likes nothing better than hanging out with their two best friends. When the trio find out that in Year Seven they will be separated into one school for boys and another for girls, Jamie decides to take matters into their own hands, and sort it all out once and for all.

Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury) – Mal, Christopher and the griffin embark on an urgent quest across the wild splendour of the Archipelago, where sphinxes hold secrets and centaurs do murder, to find the truth – with unimaginable consequences for both their worlds.

The Skull by Jon Klassen (Walker Books) – Otilla has escaped terrible danger and run away. When she finds herself lost in the dark forest, a lonely house beckons. Her host, the skull, is afraid of something too, something that comes every night. Can Otilla save them both?

Greenwild by Pari Thomson, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli (Pan Macmillan) – Daisy has escaped from boarding school, and must solve a mystery. The trail leads her through a doorway to the Greenwild, a land bursting with magic. There, Daisy confronts a danger that threatens green magic on both sides of the door.

Breakthrough Author Shortlist


Breakthrough Author Shortlist

Rebecca F. Kuang (HarperCollins Publishers) 

Author of Babel and Yellowface

Bonnie Garmus (Transworld)

Author of Lessons in Chemistry

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Vintage)

Author of Chain-Gang All-Stars

Sheena Patel (Granta Books)

Author of I'm a Fan



Vote and prize draw terms and conditions - click to expand

5 x winners will receive a £100 or €120 National Book Tokens gift card

  • By entering into this public vote and prize draw, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  • Opening date: The public vote and prize draw will open on Thursday 12th October 2023.
    Closing date:
    The public vote and prize draw close at 11:00pm on Sunday 29th October 2023.
  • To be entered into the prize draw, entrants must vote on a book title or author in at least one category. Only one entry per person will be accepted. Entrants may not win more than one prize.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • The prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives, and subject to availability. The Promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prize or offer an alternative prize. In exceptional circumstances, the Promoter reserves the right to foreclose the competition without notice.
  • Entrants must be aged 16 or over.
  • Winners will be drawn at random from all valid votes received. 
  • Entrants are allowed one vote per category; the book and/or author with the most valid votes will determine the winner of each category.
  • Entrants may receive up to 25 additional entries to the prize draw by referring other entrants using the unique link provided after a vote has been submitted. Multiple entries made by an individual user will be disqualified, including any bonus entries received as a result of multiple entries.
  • The public vote and prize draw is open to UK and Republic of Ireland residents except employees of the Booksellers Association and Book Tokens Ltd., their families, employees of participating bookshops, and anyone else connected with this promotion.
  • Entrants agree to the Promoter using their details in post-competition publicity. Your details will not be used for any other purpose, or passed onto any third parties, unless specified. Winners’ details may be shared securely with a third-party in order to fulfil the dispatch of competition prizes.
  • We will contact winners by email. In the event of a winner not responding after 14 days, we reserve the right to allocate the prize to another winner, or foreclose the prize. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
  • The Promoter accepts no responsibility for entries that are incomplete, illegible, incorrect, corrupted or fail to reach the Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Automatically generated entries or entries via third parties are invalid and shall not be considered.
    The Promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Book Tokens Ltd. will only use your email address and other personal information as outlined in our privacy policy.
  • Promoter: Book Tokens Ltd, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR.


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