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Katherine Rundell wins author of the year at British Book Awards

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Annabel Rackham,Culture reporter

David Parry Katherine Rundell at the British Book AwardsDavid Parry

Rundell’s latest book Impossible Creatures is the first in a new trilogy

Katherine Rundell has been named author of the year at the British Book Awards – the first time in six years that a children’s writer has picked up the accolade.

Rundell’s latest release, fantasy adventure Impossible Creatures, also won the prize for children’s fiction book of the year.

Other notable winners included GT Karber’s murder-themed puzzle book Murdle, which was named overall book of the year at the ceremony in London.

And Rebecca F Kuang took the fiction book of the year award for the second year in a row.

This year, she won for Yellowface – which has been much talked about since its release – after triumphing in the same category with Babel in 2023.

David Parry GT Karber at the British Book AwardsDavid Parry

Murdle by GT Karber (pictured) was named overall book of the year

Getty Images Rebecca F KuangGetty Images

Kuang’s Yellowface was praised for its “readable, razor-sharp grappling of issues of cultural appropriation”

Rundell is the first children’s writer to be crowned author of the year since Philip Pullman in 2018.

She joins other recent winners including Marian Keyes, Richard Osman and Bonnie Garmus.

Impossible Creatures is the first novel in a new trilogy by Rundell, and was also named Waterstones book of the year for 2023.

Karber’s Murdle was inspired by the addictive web-based game Wordle, and the US author and computer programmer joins previous winners EL James and Sally Rooney in winning the book of the year award.

His puzzle collection also won the prize for non-fiction lifestyle and illustrated book of the year.

Former Conservative MP Rory Stewart took home the non-fiction narrative book of the year prize for Politics on the Edge.

His memoir about life in Parliament beat high-profile autobiographies by the Duke of Sussex and Britney Spears, which were nominated in the same category.

David Parry Lisa Jewell at the British Book AwardsDavid Parry

None of This is True author Lisa Jewell won awards for crime & thriller and audiobook fiction

Getty Images Alistair Campbell and Rory StewartGetty Images

Rory Stewart (right) hosts the podcast The Rest is Politics with Alistair Campbell

Lisa Jewell won two prizes on the night – crime and thriller book of the year and audiobook fiction book of the year, both for None of This is True, her bestselling hardback in 20 years as an author.

The children’s non-fiction award went to Atinuke’s Brilliant Black British History, which was praised for its accessibility to children of all ages.

Elsewhere, Fern Brady’s Strong Female Character, which won the audiobook non-fiction award, was described as “impactful and intimate” for its exploration of the author’s autism.

Philip Jones, who chaired the judging panel, said: “Our winning authors, illustrators, and the teams behind their books showcase an industry at the height of its game and at the absolute centre of the creative sector.

“At a time when words and their meaning matter more than ever before, to see the world of books in such excellent health is surely something to celebrate.”

Winners in full

  • Author of the year – Katherine Rundell
  • Book of the year – GT Karber, Murdle
  • Audiobook fiction – Lisa Jewell, None of This is True
  • Audiobook non-fiction – Fern Brady, Strong Female Character
  • Children’s fiction – Katherine Rundell, Impossible Creatures
  • Children’s Illustrated – Jamie Smart, Bunny vs Monkey: Multiverse Mix-up
  • Children’s non-fiction – Atinuke, Brilliant Black British History
  • Crime & thriller – Lisa Jewell, None of This is True
  • Debut fiction – Alice Winn, In Memoriam
  • Discover – Raksha Dave, Lessons from Our Ancestors
  • Fiction – Rebecca F Kuang, Yellowface
  • Non-fiction lifestyle & illustrated – GT Karber, Murdle
  • Non-fiction narrative – Rory Stewart, Politics on the Edge
  • Pageturner – Rebecca Yarros, Fourth Wing
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