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

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards logo 2022At 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. The shortlists for this year's awards, now in their seventh year, include six categories curated by a panel of booksellers and voted on by the public, with the Readers' Choice award – decided entirely by booklovers – completing the set.


This year's winners were announced at a ceremony at Foyles Bookshop on Tuesday 8th November – watch the full ceremony below to see your favourite authors accepting their prizes! You can also win one of five winning sets of the winning books over on Caboodle.

Want to know more? Discover this year's shortlists as well as previous winners of the awards.


The Winners


Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners 2022

The 2022 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners, as chosen by readers, are:

Her Majesty's Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (HarperCollins)

The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye (Penguin Books)

The Fire People by Lemn Sissay (Canongate Books)

Children's Fiction
Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell (Walker Books)

Young Adult Fiction
All That's Left in the World by Erik. J. Brown (Hachette Children's Group)

Breakthrough Author
Alice Oseman, author of the Heartstopper series (Hachette and HarperCollins)

Readers' Choice
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman (Hachette Children's Group)

Watch the Ceremony




Discover this year's shortlists


From fiction that alters our perspective on the world to non-fiction and poetry that demands change, 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:

  • Alex Call, Owner of Bert’s Books
  • David Coates, Events Manager at Blackwells, Manchester
  • Juliet Johnson, Senior Bookseller at Foyles Charing Cross Road
  • Gaby Lee, Genre Fiction Buyer at Waterstones
  • Helen Tamblyn-Saville, Owner of Wonderland 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


Heaven by Mieko Kawakami (Pan Macmillan) – From the bestselling author of Breasts and Eggs and international literary sensation Mieko Kawakami, comes a sharp and illuminating novel about a fourteen-year-old boy subjected to relentless bullying.

Her Majesty's Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (HarperCollins) – The first in a new supernatural series from the author of WonderlandHer Majesty's Royal Coven follows a top secret government department of witches and the deadly threat to the nation that they must confront.

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (Pan Macmillan) – The debut novel from the critically acclaimed author of Salt Slow. A story of falling in love, loss, grief, and what life there is in the deep, deep sea.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Vintage) Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow examines the nature of identity, creativity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play and, above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.

Non-Fiction Shortlist


Non-Fiction Shortlist

Ghost Signs by Stu Hennigan (Bluemoose Books) – Stu Hennigan delivered emergency medicine and food parcels during the first 6 months of Covid-19 in inner city Leeds. Ghost Signs highlights the issue of 21st century poverty and how a decade of Austerity has devastated our most vulnerable communities.

Otherlands: A World in the Making by Thomas Halliday (Penguin) Otherlands shows us the Earth as it used to exist, and the worlds that were here before ours. Travelling back in time to the dawn of complex life, and across all seven continents, award-winning young palaeobiologist Thomas Halliday provides an up close encounter with eras that are normally unimaginably distant.

The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye (Penguin) – A landmark work that signals the beginning of a new, healthier conversation about trans life. It is a manifesto for change, and a call for justice and solidarity between all marginalized people and minorities.

Without Warning and Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal (Headline) – A story of an extraordinary childhood caught between three worlds (Irish, Caribbean and British) in 1960s Birmingham, and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.

Poetry Shortlist


Poetry Shortlist

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in her Head by Warsan Shire (Vintage) – Poems of migration, womanhood, trauma and resilience from the award-winning Somali British poet Warsan Shire, celebrated collaborator on Beyoncé's Lemonade and Black Is King.

The Fire People: A Collection of British Black and Asian Poetry by Lemn Sissay (Canongate) – Inspired and influenced by roots, reggae and hip-hop, this anthology is edited by number one bestselling author and poet Lemn Sissay.

Limbic by Peter Scalpello (Cipher Press) – Showing how queer learning can be both soft-edged and brutal at once. An exploration of masculinity, addiction and trauma, this is a revelatory collection of poems; wise, tender, and vital.

100 Queer Poems edited by Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan (Vintage) – Curated by two widely acclaimed poets, 100 Queer Poems moves from childhood and adolescence to forging new homes and relationships with our chosen families, from urban life to the natural world, from explorations of the past to how we find and create our future selves.


Young Adult Fiction Shortlist


Young Adult Fiction Shortlist

All That's Left in the World by Erik J. Brown (Hachette) – Brown's debut merges queer love story with post-apocalyptic thriller as two boys flee the many dangers unleashed after the Superflu wipes out most of humanity.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (Pan Macmillan) – When academic rival, Shara vanishes after kissing her, Chloe’s world is turned on its head. Joining forces with two unlikely classmates, Chloe tries to track Shara down through a series of cryptic notes and astounding secrets in this rom-com from the bestselling author of Red, White and Royal Blue.

The King is Dead by Benjamin Dean (Simon & Schuster) – Gossip Girl but make it royal - a Black LGBTQ+ royal reimagining full of scandalous secrets, rollercoaster romances and one hell of a mystery.

When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster) – When fourteen-year-old Shaq is stabbed outside a busy shopping centre in Manchester, three teenagers from very different walks of life are unexpectedly brought together.


Children's Fiction Shortlist 


Children's Fiction Shortlist

Grimwood: Let the Fur Fly! by Nadia Shireen (Simon & Schuster) – Fox cub siblings embark on a mission to save the forest from the machinations of the mayor of neighbouring Twinklenuts in this laugh-your-head-off adventure.

Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll (Knights Of Media) – Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them... until Ramya Knox. As she is pulled into her family's world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth behind the Hidden Folk.

Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell (Walker Books) – Diary-style story packed with doodles and comic strips about the frustration trickster god Loki feels at having to live trapped in the body of a weedy eleven-year-old boy.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman (Simon & Schuster) – A dark and twisted enemy has stolen the Island's most powerful unicorn – and as the threat grows ever closer, Skandar discovers a secret that could blow apart his world forever...

Breakthrough Author Shortlist


Breakthrough Author Shortlist

Mieko Kawakami (Pan Macmillan)

Author of Heaven, All the Lovers in the Night, and Breasts and Eggs

Alice Oseman (Hachette and HarperCollins)

Creator of the Heartstopper series

Jamie Smart (David Fickling Books)

Creator of the Bunny vs Monkey series

Gabrielle Zevin (Vintage Publishing)

Author of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow



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 6th October 2022.
    Closing date:
    The public vote and prize draw close at 11:00pm on Sunday 30th October 2022.
  • 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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