2012 UK National Book Award Nominees Include "Fifty Shades of Grey"

2012 UK National Book Award Nominees

It was probably only a matter of time before E. L. James, author of controversial mommy-porn novel Fifty Shades of Grey, was nominated for some kind of award. Don’t worry, it’s not in a literary category - it’s unlikely to win any awards for its prose. It’s been put forward for the Popular Fiction Book of the Year.

Chosen by a panel of 50 book experts, including booksellers and journalists, the prize is intended to reward an adult novel "which has made a massive impact [and] that may have exceeded expectations".

It’s up against Kate Mosse’s latest, Citadel,  Bernard Cornwell’s 1356, JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You, Victoria Hislop’s The Thread, and Dorothy Koomson’s The Rose Petal Beach.  Previous winners in the category include David Nicholls, Sebastian Faulks and Marian Keyes. The general public votes on all the nominees, with the intention of the vote reflecting books people are actually reading. And as it’s in the run up to Christmas, it’s likely to boost sales of the winners’ and nominees’ books.

There are ten categories including Autobiography, Food & Drink, Crime, and Non-fiction, as well as Author of the Year, International Author of the Year, and New Writer of the Year. J. K. Rowling’s been nominated for UK Author of the Year for The Casual Vacancy against Booker winner Hilary Mantel and Zadie Smith. Pete Townshend and Salman Rushdie have been nominated in Autobiography, Lee Child against Susan Hill and Anthony Horowitz in Crime, and I have to confess I’ve never even heard of most of the International nominees.

After the winners are announced on the 4th of December there will be another public vote, as each category is put forward for the National Book of the Year. The result of that vote will be revealed on the 18th of December.

Like a lot of public votes, the fans will probably rally around their favorites, so who knows, E. L. James may well win it - but the question (for me, at least) is ‘should she win’?

You can read the full shortlist here.

Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. November 14, 2012 - 7:32am

including booksellers

That's the reason right there.  That 50 Shades probably kept a lot of stores going.  Massive sales.

I hope The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson wins its catagory.  I liked that book a lot.

M.E.Prince's picture
M.E.Prince from Georgia is reading A Stir of Echoes November 14, 2012 - 7:53am

As far as popularity goes, it should probably win. That being said, I hate this book like no other. A friend is making me read it, and it's pure pain. Even looking past the god-awful prose that can't have seen much revision, the characters are not at all likeable. My only hope is that I'll get to see them really suffer for making me suffer through their whining and chapter after chapter of boring, cliched sex. Seriously, why do people enjoy reading about nothing more than two Mary Sues going at it? Where is the interest?

imsteph's picture
imsteph from Los Angeles, CA is reading Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany, Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante November 14, 2012 - 1:26pm

I don't really get how this category will be judged. What's the point of handing out an award based on popularity/impact on the market? Isn't the popularity its own reward, divorced from literary merit? And if the books are to be judged on literary merit, why even have this category? Is it really the "Oh, this was surprisingly palatable for something that appeals to the masses!" category?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated November 14, 2012 - 10:48pm

@Imsteph - To be fair there are tons of books that book reviewers love that are horrible, just like popular books.