Eleanor Oliphant wins top Nielsen award

News - Prizes Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Gail Honeyman on hand to collect platinum award at last night's Nielsen Bestseller Awards for her mega-selling debut novel; Adam Kay, Francesca Simon, Tony Ross and Axel Shleffler also honoured

The annual Bestseller Awards ceremony, celebrating the best-selling books of last year, was held last night in the enormous atrium of new sponsor Coutts, famously the Queen's banker.

Honeyman was honoured with a platignum award, representing over one million sales, for her debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which sold 1.2m copies. Her award completed the ceremony, and she said: "For someone who is quite shy it is a particular torture to come on last." Describing the process that has seen her plucked from obscurity to become a literary and commercial star she said: "It has been a fantastic experience and it still hasn't sunk in." She also paid tribute to her publishers HarperCollins saying "writing is a solitary undertaking but publishing is a team effort."

Speaking to BookBrunch after picking up the award, Honeyman revealed that she is working on her next book, although she was reluctant to share any further details at this stage. She also revealed that her attendance of the Faber Academy, that started her writing career, was triggered by her chance sight of a newspaper ad announcing a solitary excursion of the writing school to Glasgow.

Authors from across three primary categories - Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s - received top honours as measured by Nielsen BookScan and PubTrack Digital across both print and e-book formats for a title’s lifetime of sales. The awards ceremony was hosted by Mariella Frostrup.

The awards categories are based on sales volumes - Silver (250,000 sales), Gold (500,000 sales), and Platinum (1,000,000 sales).

This year, the Platinum Bestsellers were dominated by Fiction titles with four authors honoured including Jojo Moyes for After You, Liane Moriarty for The Husband’s Secret and BA Paris for Behind Closed Doors.

Paris came over from France to pick up her award last night, revealing that when her brother heard she was to write a book, he said she wouldn't sell a single copy. "So I am really happy to have this lovely thing to hang on my wall."

The Children’s category boasted some of the most successful authors including David Walliams, receiving two Platinum awards for The Midnight Gang and Ratburger as well as two Gold awards for The Ice Monster and World’s Worst Children 3.

Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler brought home two Platinum awards for The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, and Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also achieved Platinum status.

Liz Pichon continued her success, having been awarded three Silver awards in 2017, with three more Silver awards for 2018. Jim Field was on hand to accept a Silver award for Oi Frog! on behalf of himself and Kes Gray.

Non-Fiction authors also received top honours. Jamie Oliver achieved Platinum status for 5 Ingredients - Quick and Easy Food while Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt both received Gold.

Andre Breedt, md, Nielsen Book Research International, said: "Once again, we’re delighted to host and honour some of the bestselling authors the UK has produced. 2018 was another strong year for the industry, with sales keeping pace with the highs of recent years and where the largest category Non-Fiction saw growth in both value and volume sales. My warmest congratulations to all the winners."

Simon Hopes, commercial director at Coutts, said: "Coutts are delighted to be supporting the UK book industry through this year's Nielsen Bestseller Awards, recognising and celebrating the UK's bestselling titles. We can already count a large number of the UK’s most established authors, past and present among our clients, from Bram Stoker and Charles Dickens to many of today’s best loved writers, so this is a natural fit for us."

Below is the full list of 2018 Nielsen Bestseller Awards:

For Non Fiction:

5 Ingredients - Quick & Easy Food by Jamie Oliver

Sapiens & Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
Becoming by Michelle Obama

Lose Weight for Good & Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food by Tom Kerridge
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight
Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

For Fiction:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
After You by Jojo Moyes
Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney
Close to Home by Cara Hunter
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
Lies by TM Logan
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

For Children’s:
The BFG & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
The Midnight Gang & Ratburger by David Walliams

The Ice Monster & World's Worst Children 3 by David Walliams

Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney (plus 3 more Platinum titles)
Tom Gates Series by Liz Pichon
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith & Katz Cowley

Honorary 21st Century Hall of Fame:
Francesca Simon & Tony Ross

In December 2016 Nielsen Book and Specsavers announced the Specsavers Bestseller Awards, a revamp of the existing Nielsen Book Gold and Platinum Awards. The awards then ran under Specsavers sponsorship in 2017 and 2018, with last year's event also presented by Mariella Frostrup.

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