The adult fiction category was won by The Secret Diary of a Bengali Newlywed by Halima Khatun, the third in a series which started with The Secret Diary of an Arranged Marriage, winner of the 2021 Selfies award for fiction. The book was “fun and readable, with an entertaining voice that made me laugh out loud at times”, and the author made “effective use of TikTok to market the book” said the judges, Carolyn Mays of Bedford Square Publishers, Jacks Thomas, director of BolognaBookPlus, and Chris White, senior testing and integration analyst at NielsenBookData.
The children’s book category winner was When I Grow Up by Rich Smith, illustrated by Stuart Hinchcliff, a “lovely, rhyming, engaging’ book, with great sales, providing ”an original approach to encouraging children to work as team players” said the judges: Helen McAleer, previously md at Walker Books and now a media consultant; Nicolette Jones, writer, journalist and children’s books reviewer for the Sunday Times, and Sophie Gilligan, marketing manager for the London Book Fair.
Highly recommended in the children’s book category was Mystery in the Palace of Westminster by Sarah Lustig, a “great adventure” which “romps along with humour”.
The winner in the memoir/autobiography category was Sarah Ziegel’s Marching to a Different Beat: A family’s journey with autism, which displayed “good, evocative writing”, with a “strong, commercial cover” that tells an important story according to the judges: freelance editor Ben Brock, publishing consultant Malcolm Edwards and Ben Hughes of IngramSpark.
Highly commended in this category was The Register by Moira Dennis, a “charming history and a record of a history that would have otherwise been lost”, with a “striking” cover.
The 2023 ceremony was held in Author HQ at The London Book Fair on 17th April. Ben Hughes of IngramSpark congratulates winners Rich Smith and Sarah Ziegel, while Jo Henry of BookBrunch holds Halima Khatun’s award, as she was unable to be at the ceremony.