A collection of essays about migration, stereotypes and race in Britain written by writers of colour has been selected as UK readers’ favourite book for 2016,
A collection of essays about migration, stereotypes and race in Britain written by writers of colour has been selected as UK readers’ favourite book for 2016, beating Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and The Girl on the Train to clinch the prize.
The Good Immigrant, an essay collection edited by author Nikesh Shukla examines race and immigration, painting a picture of what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want or accept you. It was published after being crowdfunded on the Unbound platform and benefited from a £5,000 pledge from J K Rowling.
Contributors in The Good Immigrant include the award-winning actor Riz Ahmed, known for his beautiful performance in The Night Of, Nigerian Buzzfeed writer Bim Adewumni, Inua Ellams and so many other award-winning writers.
After the readers' choice winner was announced, Editor Shukla told The Bookseller: “To win a book that has been voted for by readers is the best thing because, yeah, its great to win a prize that has been voted for by critics and fellow authors and getting a review in well-respected literary pages is great, but ultimately what we want is readers, so to win a readers choice award is just the best feeling in the world.
“The industry will tell you that our book doesn’t deserve to be here, but it does, because it was voted for by readers who want to read it, and then it was a bestseller before it came out by readers who wanted to pay for it and now it was voted by readers to win a massive industry award.”
Alan Staton, head of marketing and communications at The Booksellers Association, said the fact "The Good Immigrant was voted as the public’s favourite after such a politically “turbulent” year was “affirming”.
Five more books were also announced as winners at the event. Max Porter won in the fiction category for Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber) and Matt Haig triumphed in the non-fiction category for Reasons to Stay Alive (Canongate).
Bill Bryson was crowned victor in the Biography and Autobiography category for The Road to Little Dribbling (Black Swan) and Julia Donaldson and illustrator Sara Ogilvie came top of the vote in the children’s category, for The Detective Dog (Macmillan Children’s Books). BookSeller reported.
Joanna Canon, who recently published The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, was also crowned the best Breakthrough Author (The Borough Press).
Meanwhile, bookshops chose The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail) by Sarah Perry and designed by Pete Dyer as the most Beautiful Book published in 2016.
Sponsored by National Book Tokens, Books Are My Bag Readers Awards is the first book award where the shortlist is curated by bookshops and voted for by readers.