Nero Book Awards 2023 – Shortlists Announced!

21 November, 2023

The shortlists for the inaugural Nero Book Awards have been announced.

Launched in May 2023, the Nero Book Awards celebrate the outstanding books of the past 12 months across four award categories: Children’s Fiction, Debut Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction.

The Children’s Fiction category covers books aimed at young readers aged 9-15. The eclectic shortlist of four titles was chosen by a panel of judges made up of authors, booksellers and journalists.

Commenting on the shortlists for the first ever Nero Book Awards, Gerry Ford, Founder and CEO of Caffè Nero, said, ‘The response from publishers and authors to these Awards has been tremendous, and I’m excited by the quality books that the judges have shortlisted. We hope readers of all tastes will enjoy these books and recommend them to others.’

Awards Director Amanda Johnson added: ‘The announcement of our shortlist is such an exciting milestone for the Nero Book Awards. We have here an incredible range of books that will speak to a variety of different audiences, from books based on true stories to fantasies to explorations of self, place and landscape… We hope that everyone will find a new favourite book on this list.’

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors and illustrators.

Cover images of the four titles shortlisted for the Nero Children's Book Award 2023


The 2023 Nero Book Awards: Children’s Fiction Shortlist

Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (Bloomsbury YA). ‘This is an effortlessly gripping and witty take on the heartaches and headaches of forbidden love, with dialogue sharper than Excalibur itself. This book feels like an instant classic of the genre.’ (Judges comments)

Bitterthorn by Kat Dunn (Andersen Press).  ‘A beautifully written, atmospheric, sapphic YA fantasy with its roots in fairytale and gothic fiction, Bitterthorn is at once fresh and timeless.’ (Judges comments)

Wild Song by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books). ‘This is an unflinching and uncompromising account of womanhood, racism and conformity – as well as simply being a rollicking good read.’ (Judges comments)

The Swifts by Beth Lincoln, illustrated by Claire Powell (Puffin). ‘Fast-paced, fiercely charismatic and brimming with challenge and heart, The Swifts is everything a book for young people should be.’ (Judges comments)

Visit the Nero Book Awards website to see the shortlists for the Debut Fiction, Fiction and Non-Fiction categories.

The winners of each of the four categories will be announced on 16th January 2024. From these four category winners, an overall winner – The Nero Gold Prize –  will be selected by a final panel of judges and announced at a ceremony in late February 2024. Look out for our winner announcement!

Logo for the new Nero Book Awards, including Nero Children's Book Award