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Bookseller Award Fiction: Debut

The British Book Awards 2021, or Nibbies, represent the best of the book trade - the UK’s leading creative industry. First launched in 1990 and now run by The Bookseller, the British Book Awards and its sister awards schemes – The British Book Award for Export and Library of the Year – showcase and celebrate the best books, the best bookshops and the best publishers. The Nibbies are unique in recognising that a book’s success is not down to just one factor. It is the author’s creative genius, it is the publisher’s skill and support and it is the bookshop’s championing. The Nibbies’ Books of the Year are unapologetically about success but not ‘just’ who is top of the bestseller lists. We want to find the best independent bookshops from rural Scotland to inner-city London. We celebrate the small presses that are such a vital part of the publishing ecosystem. We champion the best illustrators.

WINNER

Shuggie Bain

Stuart, Douglas ISBN: 9781529019292
Paperback

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It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother's sense of snobbish propriety. The miners' children pick on him and adults condemn him as no' right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place. Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride. A counterpart to the privileged Thatcher-era London of Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, it also recalls the work of Edouard Louis, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, a blistering debut by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell.

- LoveReading4Schools Synopsis