BookBrunch has today announced the winners of the Selfies Book Awards for the best adult fiction, the best children’s book and the best memoir/autobiography self-published in the UK in 2021.
The ceremony was held in person at Authors HQ at the London Book Fair for the first time in three years – for the past two years it has been an online ceremony – and was attended by indie authors, judges, sponsors and supporters.
Self-published books given centre stage
The winner of the adult fiction category was The Other Times of Caroline Tangent by Ivan D. Wainewright. This original time travel narrative was “likeable, fun and engaging” said the judges, a novel that was “completely page turning”, while the “marketing [was] thorough and probing”.
The runner up in this category was Breathe by Elena Kravchenko, a novel which explored the sense of devastation in the aftermath of the tsunami. It was, said, the judges, “beautifully written”, “truly compelling” and with an “intelligent and thorough marketing campaign”.
Children’s Books reviewed
In a diverse children’s book category, the winner was Conker the Chameleon by Hannah Peckham, illustrated by Stephanie Jayne, “a lovely exploration of being a little bit different”. “The marketing and social media campaigns…are very impressive, as are the sales”, said the judges, while the “illustrations are modern and very commercially appealing” and the book “has a beautiful synergy between the text and illustration.”
The runner up was Frederick the Fox by Kim Ansell, illustrated by Lisa Read, with “rich detailed illustrations and endearing characters” that completely enchanted the judges. The book was praised for “a creative marketing campaign” that included “very traditional book events helping sell a very respectable number of copies.”
Memoirs and Autobiography also highlighted
The winner of the inaugural memoir/autobiography award was The Cactus Surgeon: Using Nature to Fix A Faulty Brain by Hannah Powell. A tale of seeking out alternative therapies and a ‘green recovery’, praised by the judges for the “simplicity of [the] storytelling”, a cover that was “perfect for this kind of writing”, and “integrated photos enhancing the narrative and the book’s sense of renewal.”
A competitive self-publishing field
BookBrunch managing director Jo Henry said: ‘We have been thoroughly impressed by the wide range of topics covered and the professionalism of the publishing expertise shown by the 25 authors on this year’s shortlists.
The children’s category goes from strength to strength, and we were delighted not just with the quality of the writing but also the wonderful illustrations in the winner and runner-up.
The powerful stories told in the memoir/autobiography category made immersive reading for our judges, while the winner is very much a book for our time.
In the adult fiction category stories ranged from the comic to the tragic, making the eventual choice of a twisty time-travelling tale a hard choice for the judges. Yet again these books demonstrate that self-publishing has come of age.’
The Selfies Awards celebrating self-publishing since 2018
The Selfies Awards are judged on the quality of the writing; the production values of the book; an enticing cover and blurb that successfully addresses the target audience; and an effective and creative marketing and publicity strategy that has the potential for great sales.
Each winner receives £750 in cash and a profile in BookBrunch, while all shortlisted authors receive free entry to the 2022 London Book Fair Authors’ HQ, where a series of events aimed at indie authors is programmed.
Selfie Awards Judges
Now in its fourth year, the adult fiction category was judged by Anne Williams of the Kate Hordern Literary Agency, Emma Hopkin and Eleanor Pigg of Nielsen Book.
The judges for the children’s book category, now in its third year, were Vanessa Lewis of The Book Nook in Hove, Brenda Gardner and Jennie Marlow of the London Book Fair.
The judges for the second year of the memoir/autobiography category were Alan Staton of the BA, Alan Samson and Ben Hughes of IngramSpark.
The Selfies Book Award Winners in Full
The 2021 Selfies Book Awards Adult Fiction winner and runner up:
The Other Times of Caroline Tangent by Ivan D Wainewright: If you could travel back in time to see any concert, who would you go to see? Caroline Tangent’s husband, Jon has invented a time machine so they can visit iconic gigs in history: Woodstock ’69, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, Edith Piaf in 1930’s Paris – an inexhaustible bucket-list. Until, on a trip, one of them does something unthinkable which will change both their lives forever.
Breathe by Elena Kravchenko: December 26, 2004: The Indian Ocean tsunami has flooded great swathes of western Thailand. Carl’s best friend and his wife are missing. He travels from London to Thailand to discover what has happened to them, only to learn there is nothing one man can do in the devastation the wave left behind.
The 2022 Selfies Book Awards Children’s Books winner and runner up:
Conker the Chameleon by Hannah Peckham, illustrated by Stephanie Jayne: Can you imagine what it would be like if you could tell how someone was feeling just by looking at them? But sometimes looks can be deceiving. Poor old Conker can’t change his colour like the others and is feeling very fed up, but then he discovers that what makes him different also makes him special.
Frederick the Fox by Kim Ansell, illustrated by Lisa Read: Follow the adventures of Frederick the Fox on his journey to find happiness. How far does he have to go and did he ever really need to go anywhere at all?
The 2022 Selfies Book Awards Memoir/Autobiography winner:
The Cactus Surgeon: Using Nature to Fix A Faulty Brain by Hannah Powell: Living in London Hannah suffered burnout and was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder. With no information available to help her, she found her own way to get better.