The British Book Awards 2021 Fiction Shortlist

The British Book Awards 2021 shortlist for Fiction Book of the Year features the full range of publishers: from smaller indies to big-brand imprints. The titles showcase the mass-market success of fiction titles published in a year that was overshadowed by lockdown and the closure of bricks-and-mortar bookshops.

Brit Bennett’s début novel – The Vanishing Half – is a multigenerational saga about race in the US, following the story of the Vignes twins who, separated by their diverging lives, remain bound by their past. Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults (translated by Ann Goldstein) is a Naples-set coming-of-age story. Ken Follett’s prequel to The Pillars of the Earth, The Evening and the Morning, is set in a fictional English town and begins in 997, offering readers an escape from the present.

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig blends fiction with a message about mental health, encompassing the author’s passion for fiction and non-fiction writing. The Mirror and the Light is the long-awaited sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the stunning conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall trilogy. And finally, the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020, Maggie O’Farrell, takes readers back to the 16th century with Hamnet, which focuses on the story of Shakespeare’s wife and son.