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Press Release: Prizes and Awards
E.L. James, Hilary Mantel, Clare Balding and Miranda Hart make it a great night for women at The Specsavers National Book Awards

Posted at 7:51AM Wednesday 05 Dec 2012

The winners of the Specsavers National Book Awards 2012, a celebration of the best of British publishing, were tonight revealed at a star-studded awards ceremony at Londonâ€s prestigious Mandarin Oriental. The public will now vote for the Best of the Best in the run up to Christmas.

E.L. James stormed to victory in the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year category, knocking out literary heavyweights Kate Mosse, Bernard Cornwell, Victoria Hislop, JoJo Moyes and Dorothy Koomson. The award recognises the massive impact 50 Shades of Grey has made this year; the blockbusting title undoubtedly whipped up quite a stir from the publishing industry, media and consumers alike!

Clare Balding beat off stiff competition in the hotly contested Biography of the Year award, claiming victory over rival authors who included Salman Rushdie and David Mitchell. Baldingâ€s autobiography My Animals and Other Family won one of ten awards presented during the star-studded ceremony.

The ceremony was hosted by the well-loved broadcaster Lorraine Kelly with Dame Mary Perkins handing out the trophies. Showcasing a year of excellence within British publishing, and celebrating titles that boast both wide popular appeal and critical acclaim, the award shortlists provide a welcome guide for Christmas gift buying. Highlights from the awards will be shown in Lorraineâ€s ITV1 show on Wednesday 5 December, with Clare Balding as a guest showing off her trophy. The Awards are also enjoying media partnership with Magic FM who will be interviewing winners over the coming days. These platforms will point consumers towards their Christmas reads.

Ian Rankin took home a special Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to literature.

Times columnist Caitlin Moran was just pipped at the post to win the Magic FM Non-fiction Book of the Year for the second year running, instead the award went to comedian Miranda Hart for Is It Just Me, who is fast becoming a national treasure.

Hilary Mantel won the Waterstoneâ€s UK Author of the Year accolade for the second time, mirroring her Booker success, Bringing Up the Bodies. A great achievement given the literary prowess of her fellow nominees: Jeanette Winterson, Zadie Smith, John Lanchester, JK Rowling and Deborah Levy. Lee Child emerged victorious from a similarly formidable list of crime writers to take home the Crime book of the Year available at iBookstore for A Wanted Man. The next generation of writers look to be just as impressive as their more established rivals, with Rachel Joyce leading the pack to win the New Writer of the Year Award for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Meanwhile, the newly trim Hairy Bakers Si King and Dave Myers enjoyed the sweet taste of success as their cookery book The Hairy Dieters beat celebrity chefs Mary Berry, Lorraine Pascale and Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall in the WHSmith Food and Drink Book of the Year category.

Comic turned childrenâ€s author David Walliams†book Ratburger won the National Book Tokens Childrenâ€s Book of the Year. The Little Britain star saw off competition from Simon Mayo, Liz Pichon, Catheryn Constable and two sets of pirates to take the award.

Whilst the awards primarily recognise British writers, the talent of the international literary world is acknowledged by the award for International Author of the Year in partnership with Google Play. Eowyn Iveyâ€s The Snow Child snatched success from Laurent Binetâ€s HHhH, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt and The Dinner, Herman Kochâ€s highly acclaimed novel.

For those who prefer to listen to their literature, the awards also celebrate the best audio books of the Year. This year the award for Audible Audio Book of the Year went to Caroline Quentinâ€s narration of Susan Townsendâ€s The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year.

The public are now invited to vote online for the Specsavers Book of the Year, the nominees of which comprise the winners of all ten categories. Votes can be registered at and the final result will be announced on 26th December. Previous winners have included One Day by David Nicholls and Caitlin Moranâ€s How To Be A Woman.

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: â€The National Book Awards can only be described as the Oscars of the literary world and the evening certainly was full of incredible talent. Iâ€d like to congratulate all the winning authors and wish them the best of luck in scooping the Specsavers National Book of the Year title.â€

Amanda Ross, from Cactus TV who produce the Awards commented: â€These awards rightly celebrate the books people are actually buying, reading and loving. The shortlist serves as the perfect Christmas gift guide.â€

Full details for the Specsavers National Book Awards as follows:

Autobiography/Biography of the Year

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding (Viking Adult)

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (Arrow)

Crime Book of the Year available on iBookstore

A Wanted Man by Lee Child (Bantam Press)

Outstanding Achievement Award

Ian Rankin

WHSmith Food & Drink Book of the Year

The Hairy Dieters by Si King & Dave Myers (Weidenfeld & Nicholson)

International Author of the Year in partnership with Google Play

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Headline Review)

Magic FM Non-fiction Book of the Year

Is It Just Me by Miranda Hart (Hodder and Stoughton)

Waterstones UK Author of the Year

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate)

National Book Tokens Children's Book of the Year

Ratburger by David Walliams (HarperCollins Children's) Audiobook of the Year

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend, read by Caroline Quentin (Whole Story Audiobooks)

New Writer of the Year

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)

Further details of the awards and previous winners are available at the official website:

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