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Caffe Nero announces launch of major new book awards

High street coffee chain Caffe Nero has announced the launch of a major new set of book awards.

The Nero Book Awards will highlight outstanding books from across multiple genres and celebrate the best writing and books from across the UK and Ireland.

The inaugural awards will open for entries on June 19 across four categories: children’s fiction, debut fiction, fiction and nonfiction.

The awards prize fund totals £50,000, with the four category award winners receiving £5,000 each and the winner of the book of the year receiving an additional £30,000.

Gerry Ford, founder and chief executive of Caffe Nero, said the new awards were “a natural fit” for the company.

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“Caffe Nero was founded in 1997 on the principle of being a warm and welcoming neighbourhood gathering spot, a place to bring people together,” he said.

“Our venues were intended as and have come to be gathering spots where people come to talk, read and discuss issues of the day. Most of our stores are filled with books.”

Caffe Nero has also supported the arts in a variety of ways in past decades, including partnerships with Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the V&A and the Royal Academy of Arts.

“With the arts as part of our company culture – these awards are a natural fit for us,” Mr Ford said.

The Nero Book Awards have been launched in partnership with the Booksellers Association, Brunel University London and Right To Dream.

Shortlisted books, category winners and an overall winner of the Nero Gold Prize will be selected by judges, from booksellers and authors to media commentators and influencers.

The inaugural shortlist of 16 books – four per category – will be announced in November 2023, followed by an announcement of the four category winners in January 2024.

The overall winner will be revealed in February at an awards ceremony.

Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association, said: “This is a hugely exciting moment for the world of books.

“The Nero Book Awards do that rare thing of celebrating books across multiple genres, with an emphasis on commercial books with wide appeal.

“With its brand values centred around quality, craft and community, plus its strong existing connection to the arts, Caffe Nero is a perfect partner with whom to establish these brand-new awards.”

Bea Carvalho, Waterstones head of books, said: “Booksellers and readers will be delighted about the news of the launch of the Nero Book Awards.

“A prize which celebrates books with wide appeal across genres is extremely welcome and presents a hugely exciting moment in the bookselling calendar – we can’t wait to see the inaugural lists and share them with our customers.”

The announcement of the Nero Book Awards coincides with the launch of another new book awards series from social media platform TikTok.

TikTok said that in the past year, the #BookTok hashtag has grown more than 160% to over 138 billion views, with a community of authors, readers and fans helping to promote new authors and revive much-loved classics.

Scottish Government expenditure on TikTok
Social media platform TikTok has also announced its book awards (Yui Mok/PA)

The TikTok Book Awards UK and Ireland 2023 will recognise the community’s favourite authors, books and creators through categories inspired by the BookTok “ecosystem”.

Awards categories will include: BookTok creator of the year, BookTok book of the year, BookTok author of the year, and best BookTok revival, among others.

The list of nominees will be curated based on BookTok data as well as publisher contributions before being reviewed by a judging panel of experts, including TikTok creators, industry experts and special guest judges including Annie Macmanus and Elizabeth Day.

The final winners of a prestigious TikTok book award will be decided by the TikTok community in the UK and Ireland through an in-app vote that will go live in July, with all winners being crowned in August.

Candice Brathwaite, award-winning author and TikTok Book Awards judge, said: “As an author, there’s nothing better than to see people discussing and debating your book.

“I love going to TikTok to find unfiltered reviews and recommendations, so it’s great to be giving this community the chance to have their say through the TikTok Book Awards for UK and Ireland.

“When it comes to judging, for me it’s about celebrating the books people just can’t forget, the books that give you a whole new perspective, the books you immediately want to buy for all of your friends.

“I cannot wait to see who the winners will be.”