Potentially ending our long national nightmare of not having heard Lorraine Kelly read aloud from Fifty Shades of Grey, the nominees have been revealed for this year’s National Book Awards. The ceremony, which takes place on December 4th as a special birthday treat for Jay-Z, probably, will indeed feature the hugely popular, scandalising controversy magnet, but only in a hosting capacity, arf arf . (DISCLAIMER: This is obviously an unfair characterisation. I’m sure Lorraine Kelly’s lovely. And she can probably hook you up with a stylist who’ll give you a wonder of a dye job and get those fifty shades down to fewer than ten.)
The E.L. James juggernaut just keeps rolling on, flattening all in its path into submission then asking if that gets them off, with Fifty Shades up for Popular Fiction Book of the Year against Bernard Cornwell’s 1356, Victoria Hislop’s The Thread, Dorothy Koomson’s The Rose Petal Beach, Kate Mosse’s Citadel and JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You.
Weirdly, Patrick DeWitt is nominated as International Author of the Year for his fine The Sisters Brothers, which was up for last year’s Booker, so fingers crossed for Will Self’s Umbrella for this time next year. DeWitt is joined in his category by Laurent Binet, Ben Fountain, Eowyn Ivey, Daniel Kahneman and Herman Koch.
Other notables include two nominations for comedian Miranda Hart’s autobiography Is It Just Me (Non-Fiction Book of the Year, Audiobook of the year as read by Hart), two nominations for David Walliams for two separate titles (Autobiography/Biography of the Year for Camp David – watch your back, Rushdie, he’s coming for you – and Children’s Book of the Year for Ratburger) and the positively star-studded UK Author of the Year, which sees J.K. Rowling pitted against the heavy-hitting likes of John Lanchester, Deborah Levy, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterston and this year’s Booker-favoured Hilary Mantel (which frankly only further confuses the reasoning behind the inclusion of The Sisters Brothers, but okay).
The full shortlist is available at the awards’ website.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.