23 nominations for Penguin Random House at the Specsavers National Book Awards

Shortlist includes nominations from 8 publishing houses at Penguin Random House. 

Zoe Ball with Specsavers National Book Awards logo

After a three year hiatus the Specsavers National Book Awards have returned for 2018, with 23 Penguin Random House titles on the shortlist. 

Designed to celebrate the best and most popular books of the year, the award ceremony will be held on Tuesday 20 November and presented by Zoe Ball. Take a look at the shortlist below.

Popular Fiction Shortlist

Crime & Thriller Shortlist

Non-fiction shortlist

Autobiography & Biography Shortlist

Food & Drink Shortlist

Audiobook Shortlist

Children's shortlist

A Spoonful of Murder
A Spoonful of Murder
Shortlisted in the Children's Category in the National Book Awards 2018!

It's the sixth murder mystery for The Detective Society! This time, though, one of them is the suspect...

'Carries the Murder Most Unladylike mysteries into new heights . . . meticulously plotted and consistently delightful, and I can't recommend it enough' New Statesman

'Superb' Telegraph


When Hazel Wong's beloved grandfather passes away, Daisy Wells is all too happy to accompany her friend (and Detective Society Vice-President) to Hazel's family estate in beautiful, bustling Hong Kong.

But when they arrive they discover something they didn't expect: there's a new member of the Wong family.

Daisy and Hazel think baby Teddy is enough to deal with, but as always the girls are never far from a mystery.

Tragedy strikes very close to home, and this time Hazel isn't just the detective. She's been framed for murder.

The girls must work together like never before, confronting dangerous gangs, mysterious suspects and sinister private detectives to solve the murder and clear Hazel's name - before it's too late . . .

Young Adult shortlist

UK Author Shortlist

International Author shortlist

21 Lessons for the 21st Century
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

In twenty-one bite-sized lessons, Yuval Noah Harari explores what it means to be human in an age of bewilderment.

'Truly mind-expanding... Ultra-topical' Guardian

How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children?

The world-renowned historian and intellectual Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today's most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change.

Faced with a litany of existential and real crises, are we still capable of understanding the world we have created?

'Fascinating... compelling... [Harari] has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century' Bill Gates, New York Times

'21 Lessons is, simply put, a crucial book' Adam Kay

New Writer shortlist

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
'Wonderful...completely transporting' Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe


One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock finds one of his captains waiting eagerly on his doorstep. He has sold Jonah's ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock's marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society, where he meets Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on...

What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the legendary destructive power a mermaid is said to possess?


'Full of rich detail' Stylist

'A gloriously assured debut, set in a beautifully drawn London' Red Magazine

'A deliciously salty slab of historical fiction' Daily Telegraph

'A wonderful read' Nina Stibbe

'A dizzyingly good debut' The Times

'Imogen Hermes Gowar delights in the feminine fakery of mermaids, but as a writer she is the real deal' Hermione Eyre, author of Viper Wine

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