Candice Carty-Williams is the first black author to win book of the year at the British Book Awards

Just a few weeks after fellow author Evaristo became the first black British woman to top the UK paperback fiction chart and Reni Eddo-Lodge became the first black British author to top the UK's best-seller list, Candice Carty-Williams is the first black author to win the book of the year at the British Book Awards.


Carty-Williams’ critically acclaimed debut novel, Queenie, fended off titles from authors including Lisa Taddeo, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Margaret Atwood. Her Booker-winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, won fiction book of the year.

Book of the Year judge Stig Abell described the winning novel as "a novel of our time, filled with wit, wisdom and urgency," as the author had been "unafraid to tackle life as it is being experienced by a young, single black woman in the city".

"This shouldn't be filed away as simply a funny debut by a brilliant writer (though it is that); this is an important meditation on friendship, love and race," he added.

Image caption Candice Carty-Williams is the prize's first black winner since the awards began in 1994. Image credit BRITISH BOOK AWARDS/BBC

The winner just after the announcement of her win declared: "I don't quite know how I feel about winning book of the year; I'm proud of myself, yes, and grateful to the incredible team that helped me get Queenie out of my head and onto the shelves.

"I'm also sad and confused that I'm the first black AND female author to have won this award since it began," she continued.

"Overall, this win makes me hopeful that although I'm the first, the industry is waking up to the fact that I shouldn't and won't be the last."


Carty-Williams' book, that talks about a troubled young Jamaican woman, was dubbed "the black Bridget Jones" on its publication, but its author explained last year that that was not entirely accurate, because of the character's background.

"Well, everyone has made the comparison to a black Bridget Jones," she told the fashion publication. "That's how I thought of her in the beginning, too.

"But this book is also naturally political just because of who Queenie is. She's not Bridget Jones. She could never be."

Image credit The Prompt

Elsewhere, there were other awards given to Oyinkan Braithwaite for her book My Sister, the Serial Killer; Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone's Pinch of Nom won best non-fiction lifestyle, and Margaret Atwood's The Testaments scooped audiobook of the year.


Congrats to everyone from the entire Urban Kapital team!

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