First time author Coralie Bickford-Smith has won the Waterstones Book of the Year prize, thanks to her charming fable The Fox and the Star.
The story tells the tale of a fox who lives in a forest and loses his only friend – a star in the sky and follows his adventures as he tries to find his friend through words and illustrations.
Bickford-Smith’s book has beaten best selling novels such as The Girl on the Train and Go Set a Watchman to win the prize.
The designer-turned-author works as a senior book designer for Penguin but took a six month break from work to write and illustrate the book.
Her design work for the publishing company includes the cloth-bound editions of Penguin classics and she has described her debut book as: “a blend of classical old book design with a modern twist”.
The full shortlist for the award included:
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday)
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador)
- The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks (Allen Lane)
- Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (William Heinemann)
- Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (Canongate)
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions)
- The Fox & The Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Penguin)
- SPQR by Mary Beard (Profile)
The shortlist was selected by books nominated by Waterstones booksellers from across the UK.
Previous winners of the award include The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and Stoner by John Williams .