All the major book awards 2021

Shortlist announcements, judging panels, winners and prize money: everything you need to know about the UK's major book prizes

We all know the saying 'you shouldn't judge a book by its cover'. However, if that covers boasts that the book was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction or won the Man Booker Prize, then you're likely to judge that book more favourably. Recognition from a book prize leads to exposure, higher book sales and if you're the winner, a nice big cheque. Here we round up all the major UK book awards of 2021. As the longlist and shortlists are announced we'll add those in, so you can keep abreast of the best books in the UK in 2021.

In the meantime you can check previous longlists and shortlists on Amazon.

Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

Walter Scott Prize 2021 Shortlist

This prize for historical fiction, first awarded in 2010, is open to books published in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth. Reflecting the subtitle of Scott's most famous work Waverley: Tis Sixty Years Since, the majority of the storyline must have taken place at least 60 years ago. The 2020 winner was The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic).

Judging Panel: Katie Grant (Chair), Elizabeth Buccleuch, James Holloway, Elizabeth Laird, James Naughtie and Kirsty Wark.
Prize: £25,000 and £1,500 for each shortlisted author
Longlist: February
Shortlist: March
Winner: Mid-June

Walter Scott Prize 2021 Shortlist:
The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte (HarperCollins Australia)
A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville (Canongate/Text Publishing)
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate)
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Tinder Press)
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (Chatto & Windus/Affirm Press)

View the 2021 Shortlist on Amazon.

Women's Prize for Fiction

Women's Prize for Fiction 2021 Longlist
An annual award for full-length fiction written by a woman. The Women's Prize for Fiction is international and accepts entries from across the world. The prize was set up after the 1991 Booker Prize shortlist included no women at all and in 2020 celebrated its 25 anniversary. The 2021 winner was Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Tinder Press

Judging Panel: Bernardine Evaristo (Chair), Elizabeth Day, Nesrine Malik, Vick Hope and Sarah-Jane See
Prize: £30,000 and a limited edition bronze figurine called the 'Bessie'
Longlist: 10 March
Shortlist: 28 April
Winner: July

Women's Prize for Fiction 2021 Longlist:
Because of You by Dawn French
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Consent by Annabel Lyon
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones SHORTLISTED
Luster by Raven Leilani
No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood SHORTLISTED
Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke SHORTLISTED
Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
Summer by Ali Smith
The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett SHORTLISTED
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi SHORTLISTED
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller SHORTLISTED

View the 2021 Shortlist on Amazon.

The Man Booker International Prize

Man Booker International Prize 2020 Longlist
The Man Booker International Prize rewards the best work of fiction written in a foreign language, translated into English and published in the UK. The 2021 main prize went to The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Faber & Faber). Translated by Michele Hutchison.

Judging Panel: Aida Edemariam, Olivette Otele, Neel Mukherjee, George Szirtes and Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Prize: £50,000 divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry. Each shortlisted author and translator receive £1,000
Longlist: 20 March
Shortlist: 22 April
Winner: 2 June

The Man Booker International Prize 2021 Longlist:
I Live in the Slums by Can Xue, translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping (Yale University Press).
At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Mocschovakis (Pushkin Press). WINNER
The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili, translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press).
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (Granta Books). SHORTLISTED
When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut, translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West (Pushkin Press). SHORTLISTED
The Perfect Nine: The Epic Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, translated from Gikuyu by the author (VINTAGE, Harvill Secker).
The Employees by Olga Ravn, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken (Lolli Editions). SHORTLISTED
Summer Brother by Jaap Robben, translated from Dutch by David Doherty (World Editions).
An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky, translated from German by Jackie Smith (Quercus, MacLehose Press).
Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette (Fitzcarraldo Editions).
In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale (Fitzcarraldo Editions). SHORTLISTED
Wretchedness by Andrzej Tichý, translated from Swedish by Nichola Smalley (And Other Stories).
The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard, translated from French by Mark Polizzotti (Pan Macmillan, Picador). SHORTLISTED

The Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize 2020 Longlist

First ran in 1969 the Man Booker Prize is awarded to a novel written in English and published in the UK. Hilary Mantel has won the award twice, in 2009 for Wolf Hall and in 2012 for Bring Up the Bodies. The 2020 winner was Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan).

Judging Panel: Horatia Harrod, Natascha McElhone, Chigozie Obioma, Dr Rowan Williams and Maya Jasanoff
Prize: £50,000 for the winner, £2,500 for each of the shortlisted authors
Longlist: July
Shortlist: September
Winner: November

View the 2020 Longlist on Amazon.

Orwell Book Prize

This award focuses on political writing and each year awards prizes for the work which comes closest to George Orwell's ambition 'to make political writing into an art'. As well as the Book Prize they award a Journalism Prize and The Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils. In 2020 the Political Fiction Prize was awarded to The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and Political Writing award to Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clancy.

Book Prize judging Panel: Anand Menon (Chair), Angela Saini, Richard Ekins and Rosemary Goring.
Political Fiction judging Panel: Delia Jarrett-Macauley (Chair), Andrea Stuart, Bea Carvalho and Mark Ford.
Longlist: April
Shortlist: May
Winner: June

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2021 Longlist:
Twilight of Democracy: The Failure of Politics and the Parting of Friends by Anne Applebaum (Allen Lane)
Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care by Madeleine Bunting (Granta) SHORTLISTED
Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick (Granta) SHORTLISTED
The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination by Richard Evans (Allen Lane)
Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country by John Kampfner (Atlantic Books)
Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women by Christina Lamb (William Collins) SHORTLISTED
History Has Begun: The Birth of a New America by Bruno Maçães (Hurst Publishers)
How Spies Think: 10 Lessons in Intelligence by David Omand (Viking)
African Europeans: An Untold History by Olivette Otele (Hurst Publishers) SHORTLISTED
English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks (Allen Lane) SHORTLISTED
Recollections of My Non-Existence by Rebecca Solnit (Granta)
The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor (Bodley Head) SHORTLISTED
Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa (Granta) SHORTLISTED

The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021 Longlist:
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Bloomsbury) SHORTLISTED
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books) SHORTLISTED
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber) SHORTLISTED
A Lover's Discourse by Xialou Guo (Chatto & Windus)
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Bloomsbury) SHORTLISTED
Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury) SHORTLISTED
Summerwater by Sarah Moss (Picador)
Weather by Jenny Offill (Granta)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press)
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfield (Transworld)
Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) SHORTLISTED
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador)

View the 2020 Political Fiction Book Longlist and 2020 Political Writing Book Prize Shortlist on Amazon.

James Tait Black Memorial Prizes

James Tait Black Memorial Prizes 2020 Shortlists
Established in 1919, The James Tait Black Prizes are Britain's oldest literary awards. There are two book prizes, one for fiction and one for biography. The 2020 fiction prize winner was Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (Galley Beggar Press) and the biography prize went to The Photographer at Sixteen: The Death and Life of a Fighter by George Szirtes.

Judging Panel: Senior staff from English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, assisted by a reading panel of postgraduate students
Prize: £10,000 per prize
Shortlist: March
Winner: August, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

View the 2020 Fiction and Biographies Shortlists on Amazon.

International Dylan Thomas Prize

International Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 Shortlist
Launched by Swansea University in 2006, the accolade is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers at £30,000. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas. Novels, short stories and poetry are all considered for the award. The 2020 winner was Lot by Bryan Washington (Atlantic Books).

Judging Panel: Professor Dai Smith CBE (chair), Lucy Caldwell, Namita Gokhale, Professor Kurt Heinzelman, Max Liu, Ian McMillan and Bridget Minamore
Prize: £30,000
Longlist: February
Shortlist: 25 March
Winner: May

International Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 Shortlist:
Alligator and Other Stories by Dima Alzayat (Picador)
Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis (HarperCollins, 4th Estate)
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)
Pew by Catherine Lacey (Granta)
Luster by Raven Leilani (Picador; Farrar, Straus and Giroux) WINNER
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (HarperCollins, 4th Estate)

View the 2021 Shortlist on Amazon.

Rathbones Folio Prize

Rathbone Folio Prize 2021 Shortlist
A prize open to all works of fiction written in English and published in the UK. All genres and forms of literature are eligible, except work written primarily for children. The 2020 winner was Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (4th Estate). The 2021 winner is In The Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado.

Judging Panel: Roger Robinson (Chair), Sinéad Gleeson and Jon McGregor
Prize: £30,000
Shortlist: February
Winner: March

Rathbone Folio Prize 2021 Shortlist:
handiwork by Sara Baume (Tramp Press)
Indelicacy by Amina Cain (Daunt Books)
As You Were by Elaine Feeney (Harvill Secker)
Poor by Caleb Femi (Penguin)
My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long (Picador)
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado (Serpent's Tail) WINNER
A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press)

View the 2021 Shortlist on Amazon.

McIlvanney Prize

McIlvanney Prize 2020 Longlist
Formerly the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, the prize was renamed in 2016 to honour the late author William McIlvanney. Eligible books are by writers born in Scotland, by writers living in Scotland, or books set in Scotland. The 2020 winner was Pine by Francine Toon (Doubleday)

Prize: £1,000 and a nationwide promotion in Waterstones
Longlist: June
Shortlist: August
Winner: September at Bloody Scotland Gala opening

The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction

The Baillie Gifford Prize 2020 Shortlist
The Baillie Gifford Prize aims to reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of any nationality. It covers all non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts. It was formerly known as The Samuel Johnson Prize. The 2020 winner was One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown (4th Estate).

Judging Panel: TBA
Prize: The winner receives £50,000
Longlist: September
Shortlist: October
Winner: November

View the 2020 Shortlist on Amazon.

Forward Prizes for Poetry

The Forward Prizes Best Collection 2020 Shortlists
Not one, not two but three prizes for poetry published in Britain and Ireland. Awards are given for the Best Collection, Best First Collection and Best Single Poem. Past winners include Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy. In 2020 prizes went to The Air Year by Caroline Bird (Carcanet) for Best Collection, RENDANG by Will Harris (Gantra Poetry) or Best First Collection and 'The Little Miracles' by Malika Booker (Magma) for Best Single Poem(PN Review).

Judging Panel: James Naughtie (Chair), Leontia Flynn, Pascale Petit, Shivanee Ramlochan and Tristram Fane Saunders
Prize: £10,000 (Best Collection); £5,000 (Best First Collection); £1,000 (Best Single Poem)
Winner: October

Saltire Society Literary Awards

Saltire Society Book of the Year 2019
The Saltire Society awards six prizes each year, for the best Research Book, History Book, Poetry Book, First Book, Fiction Book and Non-Fiction Book. Of these six categories, one book wins the Saltire Book of the Year award. In 2019/20 that book was Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community by Kirstie Blair (Oxford University Press)

Judging Panel: TBA
Prize: The winner of each category receives a cash prize of £2,000 and goes on to be considered for the top prize of £6,000, awarded to the Saltire Society Book of the Year
Category Shortlists: October
Winners: Nov

Jhalak Prize

Jhalak Prize 2021 Longlist
Founded by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla alongside Media Diversified, the Jhalak Prize annually seeks out the best books by British/British resident BAME writers and awards one winner £1,000. Last year the winning book was Afropean: Notes From Black Europe by Johny Pitts (Allen Lane).

Judging Panel: Yvonne Battle-Felton, Louise Doughty, Peter Kalu, Verna Allette Wilkins, Kiran Millwood and Candy Gourlay
Longlist: 2 March
Shortlist: 13 April
Winner: 25 May

Jhalak Prize 2021 Longlist:
Antiemetic for Homesickness by Romalyn Ante (Chatto & Windus) SHORTLISTED
Inferno by Catherine Cho (Bloomsbury Circus) SHORTLISTED
[re: desire] by Afshan D'Souza-Lodhi (Burning Eye Books)
Poor by Caleb Femi (Penguin)
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Picador)
A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf (Myriad Editions)
My Darling From the Lions by Rachel Long (Picador) SHORTLISTED
The Address Book by Deirdre Mask (Profile Books)
Are We Home Yet by Katy Massey (Jacaranda) SHORTLISTED
The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld Publications)
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez (Dialogue Books) SHORTLISTED
What's Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott (W&N)

View the 2021 Longlist on Amazon.

British Book Awards

The Fiction Book of the Year 2021 Shortlist
Literary awards celebrating the commercial successes of publishers, authors and bookshops, administered by The Bookseller. In 2020, the Publisher of the Year went to Pan Macmillan and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton) took Book of the Year prize.

British Book Awards Fiction Shortlist 2021
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books)
The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (Europa Editions)
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett (Macmillan, Pan Macmillan)
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate)
The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (Tinder Press, Headline) WINNER
Chairs: Alice O'Keeffe, Alison Flood, Benedicte Page, Caroline Sanderson, Charlotte Eyre, Fiona Noble, Philip Jones and Tom Tivnan
Shortlist: March
Winner: 13 May

View the Shortlists on The Bookseller.

Crime Writers Association Daggers Award

The Dagger Award
Created in 1955, the Crime Writers' Association (CWA) Daggers have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over fifty years. The annual award celebrates the best in crime writing. In 2020 the Gold Dagger Award went to Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (Sphere)

Gold Dagger 2021 Longlist:
Stone Cold Trouble by Amer Anwar (Dialogue Books, Little, Brown Book Group)
Blacktop Wasteland by S A Cosby (Headline, Headline Publishing Group)
The Curator by M W Craven (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)
City of Ghosts by Ben Creed (Welbeck Fiction, Welbeck Publishing Group)
Peace by Garry Disher (Viper, Profile Books)
Arrowood and the Thames Corpses by Mick Finlay (HQ, HarperCollins)
House of Correction by Nicci French (Simon & Schuster)
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group)
The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
The Silver Collar by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder & Stoughton)
The House of Lamentations by S G Maclean (Quercus Fiction, Quercus)
The Other Girl by C.D. Major (Thomas & Mercer)
Midnight Atlanta by Thomas Mullen: (Little, Brown, Little, Brown Book Group)
Execution by S.J. Parris (Harper Fiction, HarperCollins)
Making Wolf by Tade Thompson (Constable, Little, Brown Book Group)
The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson (Faber)
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (Zaffre, Bonnier)
The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney (Mantle, Pan Macmillan)

Judging Panel: TBA
Longlist: 15 April
Shortlists: 20 May
Winners: 1 July

View the 2020 Gold Dagger Longlist on Amazon.

The Portico Prize

The Portico Prize 2020 Shortlist
The Portico Library is a key part of Manchester's literary scene and has homed an independent subscription library for 213 years. Both the library and its subsequent awards, the biennial Portico Prize and Portico Sadie Massey Awards (for young people), champion the literary heritage of the North of England and commend its current authors. Jessica Andrews won The Portico Prize 2020 for debut novel Saltwater (Sceptre).

Judging Panel: TBA
Prize: £10,000 for the winner
Longlist: 15 April
Shortlists: 20 May
Winner: 1 July

View the View the 2020 Longlist on Amazon.

Costa Book Prizes

Costa Book Prizes 2020 Shortlist
The Costa Book Awards honour books written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. There are five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book, with one of the five winners chosen as Book of the Year. The winner is announced at an awards ceremony in London every January. The winner of the 2020 First Novel Award went to Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber). The winner of the 2020 Novel Award was The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Love Story by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree) and the Biography award went to The Louder I Will Sing by Lee Lawrence (Sphere).

Judging Panel: TBA
Prize: The total prize fund is £60,000. Each of the category winners receives £5,000 and the overall winner receives a further £30,000
Category shortlists: November TBC
Winner: January 2022 TBC

Looking for th 2019 book awards or 2020 book awards? View the Longlists and Shortlist on Amazon.

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