Join Caboodle

Sign up for emails to receive rewards, competitions and a chance to win a £100 (or €120)
National Book Token every month!

Sign up with Facebook

By signing up I agree to the Terms & Conditions

Readers Awards 2016

The only book awards curated by bookshops, chosen by booklovers

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2016

And the winners are...

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, sponsored by National Book Tokens.

ShuklaThe Readers Choice Award goes to The Good Immigrant – a collection of essays by twenty-one emerging BAME writers, edited by award-winning writer, Nikesh Shukla.

The Good Immigrant won the public vote, beating The Girl on the Train and A Little Life to the accolade. Examining race and immigration, the book paints a picture of what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want or accept you. The crowd-funded book (which was supported by the likes of J.K. Rowling, who pledged £5,000) explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay, what it means to be mixed race, and where your place is in the world if you’re unwelcome in the place you call home.

Six other major prizes have also been awarded, with shortlists curated by booksellers and voted for by booklovers: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Biography & Autobiography, Children’s, Breakthrough Author and Beautiful Book.


The 2016 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners are...



Grief is the Thing with Feathers

by Max Porter  



Reasons to Stay Alive

by Matt Haig



The Road to Little Dribbling

by Bill Bryson



The Detective Dog

by Julia Donaldson and Sara Ogilvie



Joanna Cannon

for The Trouble with Goats and Sheep



The Essex Serpent

by Sarah Perry and designed by Pete Dyer



The Good Immigrant

edited by Nikesh Shukla


Curated by bookshops, chosen by booklovers

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are a unique new set of awards. They are the only book awards with shortlists curated by bookshops. And the only major awards voted for by booklovers.

Six shortlists were chosen by booksellers across the UK & Ireland: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Biography & Autobiography, Children’s, Breakthrough Author and Beautiful Book. A special Readers Choice Award – voted for entirely by booklovers – completes the set.

Fiction Award Shortlist

Fiction Award Shortlist

The Green Road by Anne Enrightfamily, selfishness and compassion on Ireland’s Atlantic coast


Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter - full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth


The Loney by Andrew Hurley - beautiful, thrilling and unsettling debut


The Muse by Jessie Burton - unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession


This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell - addictive novel of a marriage in freefall


The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon - part coming-of-age story, part mystery


Non-Fiction Award Shortlist

 Non-Fiction Award Shortlist

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig - a manifesto for staying alive, whatever your demons


SPQR by Mary Beard - the nation's favourite classicist lifts the lid on the Roman Empire


Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane - joyous meditation on words, landscape and the relationship between the two


The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan - major reassessment of world history


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - an unforgettably powerful and heart-breaking book about how to live


It's All in Your Head by Suzanne O'Sullivan - explores the very real world of psychosomatic illness


Biography & Autobiography Award Shortlist

Biography Award Shortlist

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham - deeply personal growing-up memoir from the BBC presenter

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink – powerful, timely and incredibly moving memoir

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – Bryson’s brand new journey around Britain

At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell - a personal journey through the story of modern existentialism

The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf - reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt

Alive Alive Oh! by Diana Athill - reminds us what really matters, and of the joy to be found at every stage of life



Children’s Award Shortlist

 Childrens Award Shortlist

One by Sarah Crossan - explores the unbreakable bond and love between sisters

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - bold and irreverent novel reminding us that there are many different types of remarkable

Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard - a darkly hilarious adventure full of exotic beetles, daring schemes, and true friendship

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers - hilarious story and joyful illustrations combine to show that crayons have feelings too

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield - a moving tale of exploration and belonging

The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson and Sara Ogilvie - a fast-paced celebration of books and the relationship between a little boy and his rather special dog


Breakthrough Author Shortlist

Breakthrough Author AwardAbi Elphinstone (The Shadow Keeper) - Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. 

Amy Liptrot (The Outrun) - Amy Liptrot has published her work with various magazines, journals and blogs and she has written a regular column for Caught by the River out of which The Outrun has emerged. As well as writing for local newspaper, Orkney Today, and editing the Edinburgh Student newspaper, Amy has worked as an artist's model, a trampolinist and in a shellfish factory.

Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney) - Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire, where he teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He has had two collections of short stories published by Lime Tree Press. The Loney is his first novel - it was first published in October 2014 by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition.

Han Kang (The Vegetarian) – Han Kang was born in Gwangju, South Korea, and moved to Seoul at the age of ten. She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. Her writing has won the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today's Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award. She currently teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

Joanna Cannon (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep) - Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is her first novel.

Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon) - Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. My Name is Leon is her first novel. 

Lisa McInerney (The Glorious Heresies) - Lisa McInerney is from Galway and is the author of award-winning blog 'Arse End of Ireland'. The Irish Times has called her 'arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today'. Her mother remains unimpressed.

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Harmless Like You) - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is a Japanese-British-Chinese-American writer. She has a BA from Columbia University, an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently working on a PhD at the University of East Anglia. Her writing has appeared in, among other places, NPR's Selected Shorts, TriQuarterly, and the Tin House Open Bar. She has lived in London, New York, Tokyo, Madison, and Norwich.


Readers Choice Award Shortlist


Every year readers discover brilliant new books on the shelves of their local bookshop. We couldn't possibly shortlist them all, so here's a chance to vote for the one you loved the most!


Nominate your favourite read from the past 12 months - it may have been published this year or a classic that you only discovered this year. 


Beautiful Book Award Shortlist


This special award was shortlisted and voted for exclusively by booksellers. It celebrates the beauty of the physical book and recognises books as artefacts to be treasured. The shortlisted titles are:

Cartes Postales - Victoria Hislop

Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry

Golden Hill - Francis Spufford

Hag-Seed - Margaret Attwood

Herbarium - Caz Hildebrand


Vote & Competition - Terms and Conditions

10 x winners will win a £100 (€120) National Book Token gift card.

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted.
  • The prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives.
  • Closing date 14th November 2016.
  • Voters are allowed one vote per award category, the outcome of the popular vote will directly determine the winner of each category.
  • The competition is open to UK and Republic of Ireland residents except employees of the Booksellers Association, Book Tokens Ltd and employees of participating bookshops.
  • By entering, entrants acknowledge that this competition is a game of chance, which does not involve exercising any skill or judgement.
  • Entrants agree to Book Tokens Ltd 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.
  • The promoters’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Promoter: Book Tokens Ltd, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR.