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Neil Gaiman Wins (UK) National Book Award!

The-Ocean-at-the-end-of-the-Lane-186x300Good news Fantasy fans: Fantasy has proven its place at the forefront of British Literature as Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane wins the public’s vote in The National Book Award. The Award’s subsequent Press Release makes for good reading:

Neil Gaiman became the author of Britain’s favourite book today, as his contemporary fantasy The Ocean at the End of the Lane was named Specsavers Book of the Year for 2013. Neil was crowned overall victor by the public in a vote comprising of winners from all ten categories from this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards.

Noteworthy is that Gaiman won the public vote by a considerable margin, beating substantial competition from the likes of Malala Yousafzai, Robert Harris, Kate Atkinson and David Walliams.

In addition, Neil Gaiman (already a multi-time New York Times bestselling author) was shortlisted in three separate categories as part of the Specsavers National Book Awards: National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year for his book Fortunately The MilkWaterstones UK Author of the Year, and Audible Audiobook of the Year for his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane which won the category, and went forward to the Specsavers Book of the Year public vote.

Neil-Gaiman-199x300Neil Gaiman said: I’ve never written a book before that was so close to my own heart: a story about memory and magic and the fear and danger of being a child.  I wasn’t sure that anyone else would like it. I’m amazed and thrilled that so many other people have read it, loved it, and made their friends read it too.  Winning a National Book Award was thrilling; discovering that the public have made The Ocean at the End of the Lane their Book of the Year is somewhere out beyond wonderful. Thank you to everyone who voted.”

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: “On behalf of Specsavers I’d like to congratulate Neil on this fantastic award. The competition was tough but to be chosen by member of the public as well as your industry peers truly is a tribute to hard work, dedication and creativity.”

Amanda Ross Joint MD of Cactus TV, added: “Neil Gaiman is an incredibly worthy winner, dominating the public vote, but he beat off amazingly stiff competition, comprising not only of new and exciting talent but also exceptionally respected and established authors. Congratulations to all our winners but especially Neil for triumphing overall.”

As the overall winner is chosen by readers themselves, the Specsavers Book of the Year is an unsurpassable endorsement of a book’s appeal. Previous winners include Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2012) and Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman (2011).

I personally owe a HUGE thank you to Neil Gaiman… When I found out that we, Britain as a country, had named Fifty Shades of Grey our favourite book in 2012 I was pretty damned close to emigrating. Certainly, if another poor erotica maybe or maybe not based on sparkling vampires had won this year, I’d have had to grab my stuff and leave for sure. Neil writing a book that has relinquished us of an unfortunate time of poor decision making – now, hopefully, locked in our past – and having captured so many hearts means I feel I can now stay here.

On a serious note though, Neil winning this award is HUGE for the fantasy genre. The National Book Awards is one of the standout events in the literary calendar (rightly or wrongly) and the awards are unique in that they acknowledge critical and commercial success. What you can be sure of is that The Ocean at the End of The Lane will gain prominent placing in most bookstores and a massive push over the next few months. Inevitably this means people will pick it up, enjoy it and look for something similar… a great bonus for the genre we make it our job to promote.

So, thank you, Neil; truly 🙂

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