My Sister, The Serial Killer wins Crime and Thriller Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 202

Written by Stylist Team

Debut novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite has won the Crime And Thriller Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2020.

Debut Nigerian novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite won the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year award at tonight’s British Book Awards for her novel My Sister, The Serial Killer

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the British Book Awards – aka The Nibbies – and excitingly, the Crime and Thriller Book of the Year category is this year supported by Stylist. The eight Book of the Year winners were decided by separate panels, with judges including star food critic Jay Rayner, author and broadcaster Loyd Grossman and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, head of editorial at gal- dem. A separate panel went on to choose the overall Book of the Year, where The High Low podcast co- host Pandora Sykes was judging alongside TLS editor Stig Abell and former MP Luciana Berger.

Stylist spoke to award-winning writer Braithwaite about her win.

Congratulations. What does winning this award mean for you?

I couldn’t have imagined it in my wildest dreams but each and every time [I win an award] it feels like another pat on the back. I didn’t write the book to get published – it was an exercise for myself because I’m terrible when it comes to finishing stories, so I wasn’t thinking about what agents, or publishers or readers will think when I wrote it. I had no expectations.

Is the pressure on now for the next book?

I mean, it is ridiculous how different it is, not only because of the success of this book but also because as a black writer in some ways the pressure is different. Expectations are placed on you that you’re not 100% ready for. I am asked questions that were so far from my mind when I was writing My Sister, The Serial Killer and now I’m asking, what do I do with this platform I have?

The pressure of recent times has made it catapult but even before the coronavirus pandemic, before the protests – and not just Black Lives Matter, there have been a lot of protests about sexual assault and rape in Nigeria – even before then there was the pressure of being an African writer in an international world. You are often asked questions about Africa and I really have to point out that I haven’t even been to all the states in Nigeria. I can’t even speak for Nigeria as a whole, let alone Africa.

So who else has been shortlisted? The Fiction Book of the Year battle is between Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other), Margaret Atwood (The Testaments), Philip Pullman (The Secret Commonwealth) and Jojo Moyes (The Giver of Stars), alongside Heather Morris with Cilka’s Journey, a sequel to the Sunday Times bestselling The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Lady Anne Glenconner’s account of accompanying Princess Margaret on state occasions and foreign tours for more than thirty years, Lady in Waiting, will compete with Elton John’s tell-all autobiography Me, and Adam Kay’s festive follow-up to his million-copy selling junior doctor diaries, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas for the Non-Fiction: Narrative Book of the Year trophy.

In Non-Fiction: Lifestyle, Instagram cleaning guru Sophie Hinchcliffe’s Hinch Yourself Happy sits alongside the cartoonist and illustrator Charlie Mackesy’s New York Times bestseller The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, while champion of healthy school meals Jamie Oliver faces newcomers Shamil and Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir with the first cookbook from their beloved Bombay café chain, Dishoom.

The superstar of children’s books David Walliams lines up with his The Beast of Buckingham Palace (illustrated by Tony Ross) next to the Foyles Children’s Book of the Year 2019 winner The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell, as well as recent World Book Day authors and founder of the Making Herstory charity, Onjali Q. Raúf, in Children’s Fiction. In Children’s Non-Fiction & Illustrated, The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is up against You Got This by writer, podcaster, author and mental health champion Bryony Gordon.

In Début Book of the Year, first novels from opposite sides of the pond, both longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, sit together – Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

For Audiobook of the Year, Margaret Atwood is shortlisted twice, for both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, sitting alongside documentary-maker Louis Theroux and his self-deprecating autobiography, Gotta Get Theroux This and heavyweights Bill Bryson and Philip Pullman.


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