Nathan Filer has won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel for his debut The Shock of the Fall. He beat other shortlisted authors Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and Tim Glencross for Barbarians. That’s in addition to winning the Costa Book of the Year and the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year
The Shock of the Fall is ‘an extraordinary portrait of one man’s journey through the spinning vortex that is mental illness. It is a brave and ground breaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.’
The Writers’ Guild Awards 2014 were sponsored by BBC Writersroom, BBC Worldwide, ITV Studios and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).
Catch up on the rest of the Specsavers National Book Award winners. Most are rated 5* by Leeds Readers
Nina Stibbe’s ‘Love, Nina’ was named Non-fiction Book of the Year. The author said she was “stunned” at the reception the book, made up of letters she wrote to her sister during her time as a nanny in the 1980s. Nick Hornby is adapting ‘Love, Nina’ for the screen, and she is currently working on a sequel to ‘Man at the Helm’ her début novel released earlier this year.
Jessie Burton was awarded the ‘Books Are My Bag’ New Writer of the Year Award for ‘The Miniaturist’. She is working on a second novel, set during the Spanish Civil War and the London art scene in the 1960s.
Nathan Filer was another debut novelist among the winners at the Specsavers National Book Awards 2014 for ‘The Shock of the Fall’ which won the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year. It crowned a year which started with the book winning the Costa Book of the Year award.
David Walliams’ ‘Awful Auntie’ was named Children’s Book of the Year, the third consecutive year a Walliams novel won the award, and the book was also the winner of the Audible Audiobook of the Year award.
Crime Book of the Year was awarded to Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim.
Yotam Ottolenghi won the Food and Drink of the Year award for ‘Plenty More’.
Alan Johnson’s memoir ‘Please, Mister Postman’ (the sequel to ‘This Boy’), was named the winner of the Magic FM Autobiography/Biography of the Year.
International Author of the Year was Karen Joy Fowler for the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’.
Debut novelist and ex mental health nurse Nathan Filer, who now lectures in creative writing, has beaten Kate Atkinson to the overall Costa prize with ‘The Shock of the Fall’. He is the fifth debut novelist to win. The book was 11/2 only fourth favourite to win, a way behind Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life at 11/8.
He wins £30,000 for the prize, known as the Whitbread until 2005. Now in its 42nd year, it aims to reward enjoyability. The judges, who were reported to be ‘not quite unanimous,’ were chaired by Rose Tremain and included
Natascha McElhone, Pointless expert Richard Osman, singer Sharleen Spiteri, and authors and writers Gerard Woodward, Emma Kennedy, Anne de Courcy, Matthew Cain and John Burnside.
The book is narrated by Bristol boy Matthew from the age of five to his early 20s and is a gripping account of his descent into schizophrenic illness following the death of his younger brother. It is told when he is at school, when he is smoking too much marijuana in a grotty flat and from the psychiatric wards he ends up in. ‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’ .