Galaxy National Book Awards 2011: WH Smith Paperback of the Year

Article published on December 21, 2011.

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Room, by Emma Donoghue (Winner)

Jack is five. He lives with Ma in a single locked room and, as far as he’s concerned, that’s the entire world. But then Ma explains there’s a world outside – and when she and Jack manage to escape, Jack has to learn to live outside of Room…


When God Was a Rabbit, by Sarah Winman

Young Elly Portman’s world is shaped by those who inhabit it: her loving but maddeningly distractible parents; a best friend who smells of chips and knows exotic words like ‘slag’; an ageing fop who tapdances his way into her home, a Shirley Bassey impersonator who trails close behind; lastly, of course, a rabbit called God. In a childhood peppered with moments both ordinary and extraordinary, Elly’s one constant is her brother Joe.

Twenty years on, Elly and Joe are fully grown and as close as they ever were. Until, that is, one bright morning when a single, earth-shattering event threatens to destroy their bond forever.


You’re Next, by Greg Hurwitz

I know you, don’t I?’ Five words – that’s all it takes to plunge Mike Wingate and his family into mortal danger. Mike doesn’t recognise the crippled stranger who approaches him at a party… but the stranger seems to know all about him. What has Mike done? Do they have the wrong man? Overnight, the threats become attacks, and Mike, his wife, and their young daughter learn they aren’t safe anywhere  – especially not their own home. He doesn’t know who they are. He doesn’t know what they want. But there’s no time to figure it out – because his enemies have killed before, and he’s next.


The Brightest Star in the Sky, by Marian Keyes

June the first, a bright summer’s evening, a Monday…

And into the busy, bustling homes at 66 Star Street slips, unseen, a mysterious visitor. As the couples, flatmates and repentant singletons of No 66 fall in and out of love, clutch at and drop secrets, laugh, cry and simply try to live, no one suspects the visitor patiently waiting in the wings. For soon, really very soon, everything is going to change…


The Red Queen, by Philippa Gregory

The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.


The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake

It is 1940, and bombs fall nightly on London.

In the thick of the chaos is young American radio reporter Frankie Bard. She huddles close to terrified strangers in underground shelters, and later broadcasts stories about survivors in rubble-strewn streets. But for her listeners, the war is far from home.

Listening to Frankie are Iris James, a Cape Cod postmistress, and Emma Fitch, a doctor’s wife. Iris hears the winds stirring and knows that soon the letters she delivers will bear messages of hope or tragedy. Emma is desperate for news of London, where her husband is working – she counts the days until his return.

But one night in London the fates of all three women entwine when Frankie finds a letter – a letter she vows to deliver…

About the Galaxy National Book Awards

The gala ceremony, recorded at the Mandarin Oriental was hosted by comedian (and author of Tickling the English in 2010) Dara O Briain and actress Helen Baxendale. The Awards showcase the best of British publishing and celebrate titles that boast both wide popular appeal and critical acclaim. Produced by Cactus TV, the Awards are to be broadcast over six weeks of national TV programming, BOOKED – Stars of the Galaxy National Book Awards will air on 13th November and run until 18th December on More4. Each show will include features on each of the winners and in-depth interviews with the season’s biggest celebrity authors, including Katie Price, Rob Brydon and Jason Manford.

From Saturday 5th November, the public are invited to vote online for the Galaxy Book of the Year, the nominees of which comprise winners of all eleven categories. Last year’s winner of the overall accolade, One Day, by David Nicholls recorded over 300% sales growth during December 2010, going on to become the biggest selling paperback of 2011 along with a Hollywood film release. Who will triumph this year?

Vote for your favourite book here and win £100 in National Book Tokens!


Win a copy of Partitions, by Amit Majmudar


Caitlin Moran wins The Galaxy Book of the Year, 2011!

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