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Fourth Diverse Book Awards Shortlist Announced

Press release - Embargoed until 1pm (UK time) on Thursday 21stSeptember 2023


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Fourth Diverse Book Awards

Shortlist Announced

PLUS New Malorie Blackman Impact Award Introduced

Introducing the latest, must-read shortlist of diverse & inclusive picture books, children's, YA and adult fiction books in the UK and Ireland



London, United Kingdom, 21stSeptember 2023:Nominations reached a record high this year in the fourth Diverse Book Awards, making the shortlist judging decision more difficult than ever. With a new category of Picture Books added to the line-up, 160 books were submitted across the awards covering Children's, Young Adult and Adult Fiction.


Following a hugely successful prize in 2022, The Diverse Book Awards, created by publishing entrepreneurs Abiola Bello (award-winning author) and Helen Lewis (prize-winning publicist), continues to evolve to become ever more inclusive and interactive. This year, readers in schools, libraries, book clubs, and homes across the country, were also invited to vote for their number one winner in each of the four longlisted categories as part of The Readers' Choice Awards. Votes close on 21st September and the winners will be confirmed at the awards party on October 25that Waterstones Piccadilly in London. Teachers, booksellers and librarians are already showing their support for this new addition to The Diverse Book Awards as a way of encouraging people to support the full shortlist - and to help shine a spotlight on the longlisted books and authors/illustrators for longer.


And new for 2023, alongside The Readers' Choice Awards, is the Malorie Blackman Impact Award, sponsored by book marketing agencyLiterally PR. This inaugural award will be presented to the incredible Malorie Blackman at the winners' party on 25thOctober at Waterstones Piccadilly for her services and commitment to diversity and inclusion in publishing. The award will be presented in future years, in Malorie Blackman's honour, to inspirational authors making a genuine impact.


Today, as the fourth Diverse Book Awards shortlist is officially uncovered, the hope is that the lists will become essential reading on a national level, highlighting the outstanding diverse and inclusive books published by authors based in the UK and Ireland during 2023.


Abiola Bello, co-founder of The DBAs:"Another great year running the awards and once again I've read so many fantastic books, been introduced to new authors and the standard this year has been so high. We had the most adult books this year which did make the judges jobs harder! Thank you to the amazing authors and publishers for the range of diverse books that I got to read."


Helen Lewis, co-founder of The DBAs:"Of all the work I do across publishing, The Diverse Book Awards is by far the project I'm most proud of. The way the awards genuinely impact authors, shine a much-needed spotlight on the talent in this country, help readers discover brilliant books, and connect people together in such a positive way really is something that will forever make me smile. I cannot wait to see what impact the new awards and categories have on raising awareness about the beauty of diverse books in the UK."


The Diverse Book Awards Shortlist 2023


Adult Shortlist

Here Again Nowby Okechukwu Nzelu (Dialogue Books)

Love Marriageby Monica Ali (Virago)

One for Sorrow, Two for Joyby Marie-Claire Amuah (Oneworld)

Still Livesby Reshma Ruia (Renard Press)

Someday, Maybeby Onyi Nwabineli (Magpie)

The Attic Childby Lola Jaye (Pan Macmillan)

These Impossible Thingsby Salma El-Wardany (Trapeze)

Wahalaby Nikki May (Doubleday)

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzbandby Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (Viking)


Young Adult Shortlist

Bad Things Happen Hereby Rebecca Barrow (Hot Key Books)

Cuts Both Waysby Candice Brathwaite (Quercus Children's Books)

Gay Club!by Simon James Green (Scholastic)

If You Still Recognise Meby Cynthia So (Little Tiger)

Love In Winter Wonderlandby Abiola Bello (Simon & Schuster)

The Haunting of Tyrese Walkerby J.P. Rose (Andersen Press)

The Society for Soulless Girlsby Laura Steven (Electric Monkey, imprint of HarperCollins)

When Our Worlds Collidedby Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)

Why Is Nobody Laughingby Yasmin Rahman (Hot Key Books)


Children's Shortlist

A Flash of Firefliesby Aisha Bushby (Farshore)

Ajay and The Mumbai Sunby Varsha Shah, illustrated by Sònia Albert (Chicken House)

Future Hero: Race To Fire Mountainby Remi Blackwood (Scholastic)

Kiki Kallira Conquers A Curseby Sangu Mandanna (Hodder Children's Books)

Mia and the Lightcastersby Janelle McCurdy, illustrated by Ana Latese (Faber Children's)

Sadéand her Shadow Beastsby Rachel Faturoti, illustrated by Rumbidzai Savanhu (Hodder Children's Books)

The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Dangerby J.T. Williams, illustrated by Simone Douglas (Farshore)

The Secret of Haven Pointby Lisette Auton, illustrated byValentina Toro (Puffin)

The Twig Manby Sana Rasoul (Hashtag Press)


Picture Book Shortlist

Dadaji's Paintbrushby Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Ruchi Mhansane (Andersen Press)

John Agard's Windrush Childby John Agard, illustrated by Sophie Bass (Walker Books)

Nour's Secret Libraryby Wafa Tarnowska, illustrated by Vali Mintzi (Barefoot Books)

Our Story Starts in Africaby Patrice Lawrence, illustrated by Jeanetta Gonzales (Magic Cat)

Our Towerby Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Richard Johnson (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Saving The Butterflyby Helen Cooper, illustrated by Gill Smith (Walker Books)

Small's Big Dreamby Manjeet Mann, illustrated by Amanda Quartey (HarperCollins Children's Books)

The Missing Pieceby Jordan Stephens, illustrated by Beth Suzanna (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

You Need To Chillby Juno Dawson, illustrated by Laura Hughes (Farshore)

Notes to editors

Abiola Bello and Helen Lewis are available for media interviews.

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Sponsors of The Diverse Book Awards


Logo, company nameDescription automatically generatedBook Clubs in Schools - YA Headline Sponsor (


Renaissance Learning- Children's Headline Sponsor  (


Peters - Adult Headline Sponsor (


A logo with blue and green linesDescription automatically generatedLiterally PR ( - Malorie Blackman Impact Award Sponsor


Madeleine Milburn Agency (


World Book Day (


Pen & Inc (

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Wigtown YA & BigWig Festivals (


A green square with white textDescription automatically generatedSparx (


Pen to Print (


The Independent Publishers Guild (


Notes to editors

Abiola Bello and Helen Lewis are available for media interviews

Award enquiries

Media enquiries

Full terms and conditions are available