Saturday, 26 November 2016

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards ; the evening!

I was so delighted and honoured to attend the first ever Books Are My Bag Readers Awards event, in one of my favourite London bookshops, on Thursday 24th November.

I wrote about these awards, specifically the Childrens Shortlist, when they was first announced a while ago. And the beautiful humans at BAMB sent me all of their shortlists in each category! Those babes. I have since been enjoying some wildly varied fiction and hard-hitting non-fiction – breaking each tough read up with a gorgeous picture book, obviously.


The buzz in the room when the award winners were called out was brilliant; I found myself bouncing on my toes as I silently rooted for the authors and books I'd voted for online...but then at the same time I was totally psyched for all the other shortlisted candidates, all of them excellent and worthy of the win.

There are so many awards these days that are judged by a panel, and subject to just a small group of opinions – but these awards were perfect in that they were voted for by readers! Good work, BAMB. Giving the loyal and loving readers a voice – and no doubt the authors appreciate their wins more when they know it was a mass vote that people took time out of their days to submit! I certainly would, anyway. 

The evening was packed full of lovely moments. Seeing Stacey again after so long – and after she'd been on several European adventures – was lovely. And while hugging George Lester (often for longer than strictly necessary) is always a treat, this time was extra special because we were all dressed up and feeling important as we were both featured bloggers for these awards, thank you very much. 


Then of course chattering my head off with authors is always a highlight of a book event for me – even after doing it for over a year, I still freak out and babble excitedly and lose my cool (if I even had it in the first place) when an author looks my way.

I was thrilled to meet David Litchfield, author of 'The Bear and The Piano'. That picture book is so beautiful that I read it twice in quick succession – and it made me weep a little. I may have panicked the author slightly when he went for a handshake and I pulled him in for a hug...


I was so heart-wrenchingly happy when Matt Haig won the award for Non-Fiction; his book 'Reasons To Stay Alive' brought the most insane clarity and relief to me and my silly brain when I discovered it a while ago, and I have lent/gifted it to everyone I know who I feel would benefit from his musings and stories as much as I did. 
Then after the awards were all presented, and approximately 3 glasses of wine were consumed on my part, I strode up to him to tell him just this, all of this, plus deliver a huge thank you of course. We ended up chattering for a while after he recognised me from Twitter, I gave him my business card and then postponed my excited freaking out for the train home. Phew. 


When Max Porter's 'Grief Is The Thing With Feathers' won the award for Fiction, I lost it a bit. Because hell yes, this book (which I devoured in 4.5 hours one sunny Sunday sitting in an independent book shop) (and have since bought for about 5 different friends) just made me feel everything. It reminded me of my time studying Creative Writing at uni, when I'd happily unleash all my messy thoughts onto a poor unsuspecting page and afterwards edit and see what worked. His beautiful tangles of words and emotions were just...something else. Congrats, Max.

But it was when Julia Donaldson and Sarah Ogilive's book 'The Detective Dog' was announced as the winner in the Children's shortlist that I squealed the most. Because I was so happy their gorgeous and genius picture book won – it was up against some stiff YA and MG competition, not to mention its picture book rival 'The Bear and The Piano'! Congrats again to Julia and Sarah, and to Pan Mac. 


Also, mad props to the writers of 'The Good Immigrant', you all smashed it and yeah, obviously you won the Readers Choice Award. I mean, c'mon. 

I could ramble on about this wonderful evening forever and a day, but I'll leave it there for now. If anyone wants to know more, like how many glasses of wine I managed to consume, or how overcome with joy I was when they presented me with a goodie bag as I left, or how magical it was walking to Charing Cross station with the one and only George who was my very cheeky guardian angel at those awards...well then DM me, perhaps.


I haven't actually been able to attend many book events in the big smoke recently, and I felt that this was the perfect one to pull me back into the excitement of the bookish world. I'd missed it. Let's hope I have more time to attend these events in the new year. I may make it a resolution...


Wanna win the entire list of winning books? Click here!

Oh also, today is BAMB's Civilised Saturday; the perfectly chilled follow-up to the wicked Black Friday! Check it out.


Other blogs I have written under the lovely Books Are My Bag umbrella:

1 comment

  1. Looks like you had a really great time and glad to see so many books I've read and heard about too

    Mel ★ http://www.meleaglestone.co.uk

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