Indie Book Awards 2021 Shortlist Announced

Book covers from the shortlist

Here’s the shortlist for the Indie Book Awards 2021, honouring paperback books across across four categories – Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s Fiction and Picture Book – all voted for by independent booksellers. Winners will be announced on Scala Radio on Friday June 25, but take a look and see if some of your favourite titles are here…

If you are looking for great summer reading to enjoy on holiday or at home, then you won’t go far wrong with some of the books below – and there’s something for all the family.

Independent Bookshop Week logoThis year’s shortlist include the debut sensation Richard Osman (The Thursday Murder Club), the number 1 Sunday Times Bestselling author Matt Haig (The Midnight Library), Julia Donaldson MBE (The Hospital Dog), previous Indie Book Award nominee Onjali Q. Rauf (The Night Bus Hero),  2020 Booker Prize longlisted author Kiley Reid (Such A Fun Age), Stonewall Book Award winner Jessica Love (Julian at the Wedding), writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah (Windrush Child) and Carnegie award winner Meg Rosoff (The Great Godden).

During Independent Bookshop Week, and Blackwell’s will be hosting virtual events featuring some of the shortlisted authors. Click here for more details.

A judging panel of independent booksellers and authors will decide on the four winners, to be announced at 10am on Friday June 25 2021, the penultimate day of Independent Bookshop Week.

The full Indie Book Awards 2021 shortlist:


  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador)
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Canongate)
  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking)
  • Summerwater by Sarah Moss (Picador)
  • Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber & Faber)


  • The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn (Michael Joseph)
  • My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay (Canongate)
  • The Stubborn Light of Things by Melissa Harrison (Faber & Faber)
  • Humankind by Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier Spy by Ben Macintyre (Viking)
  • Hungry by Grace Dent (Mudlark)


  • Tamarind & the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan (Chicken House)
  • Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah (Scholastic)
  • The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Rauf (Orion Children’s)
  • The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff (Bloomsbury)
  • Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant (Faber Children’s)
  • Vi Spy: Licence to Chill by Maz Evans (Chicken House)


  • The Bear, the Piano & Little Bear’s Concert by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
  • Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love (Walker Books)
  • The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson & Sara Ogilvie (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Dog Gone by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls, illustrated by David Litchfield (Walker Books)
  • The Girl and the Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes & Sarah Massini (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

One of the nominees, Pointless favourite Richard Osman, author of The Thursday Murder Club, said,

Independent bookshops are the heartbeat of their communities and the heartbeat of the publishing industry. They feel like home for me, and I am beyond thrilled to be nominated for this award.

Find out more

Follow the latest developments via social media: #IndieBookshopWeek @BooksAreMyBag

Allison Hay

I joined the My Weekly team ten years ago, and I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazine. I manage the digital content for the brand, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters. I also work for Your Best Ever Christmas - perfect as it's my favourite time of year!