Blackwell’s reveals 2020 Book of the Year

News - Prizes Friday, 8th January 2021

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll crowned as the Blackwell’s Book of the Year for 2020; title already named Children's Book of the Year


Published by Knights Of, A Kind of Spark tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown.

According to Blackwell's: 'Elle McNicoll is a Scottish and neurodivergent author who wrote this book – her first – after growing tired of the lack of inclusivity in the industry. The novel stars two autistic young women.'

The winner was one of four shortlisted titles up for Blackwell’s Book of the Year, having been announced as Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year in December. The full shortlist was as follows:

Fiction Book of the Year: Boy Parts by Eliza Clark
Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Humankind by Rutger Bregman
Children’s Book of the Year: A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
Debut Book of the Year: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

The shortlist was voted for by Blackwell’s booksellers across the UK, and the ultimate winner was selected by a panel of five Blackwell’s booksellers from the online team and shops around the country: Rachel Henderson, David Coates, Mirjam Coenraads, Ewan Wilkinson, and Eleonora Cavalli.

Coenraads said: "I got so much out of A Kind of Spark – perspective, empathy, joy – it is a book that will live with me for a very long time. I feel passionately that I would love to put a copy into the hands of every customer that passes through our doors."  

Elle McNicoll said: "I am staggered by the support and generosity from Blackwell’s and their booksellers. To see a children’s book win Book of the Year is an overwhelming and wonderful thing. Thank you so much."

Eishar Brar, Knights Of editorial director, said: "We’re over the moon for Elle - to have her debut recognised by Blackwell’s is a hugely exciting moment. Thank you to all the booksellers, and the judges, who continue to champion A Kind of Spark."

Previous winners of the Blackwell’s Book of the Year include The Establishment by Owen Jones, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak and Everything Under by Daisy Johnson.

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