Davina McCall wins top gong at British Book Awards for look into the menopause

Davina McCall and her co-author Dr Naomi Potter have claimed book of the year at the British Book Awards for their exploration into the menopause.

Menopausing, a non-fiction guide which shares real-life stories, science and advice about perimenopause and menopause, was chosen from the 12 individual category winners who were announced during the ceremony – nicknamed The Nibbies – at Grosvenor House in London on Monday.

TV presenter McCall, 55, has been outspoken about the lack of medical knowledge on the subject in recent years and has opened up about her own menopause journey and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in a number of Channel 4 documentaries.

Menopausing (The British Book Awards/HQ, HarperCollins/PA)
Menopausing (The British Book Awards/HQ, HarperCollins/PA)

The work was praised by a panel of judges that included Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, broadcaster and author Anita Rani, radio host Vick Hope, comedian Ellie Taylor and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho.

Reflecting on Menopausing, Guru-Murthy said: ”This book helped get a nationwide conversation going about menopause and captured the zeitgeist.

“It was cleverly marketed and nurtured by the publishing team through considerable obstacles.

“The pairing of Davina McCall with Dr Naomi Potter was clever enough to produce an authoritative and useful yet entertaining book about an important and ignored subject.”

It also won in the non-fiction lifestyle and illustrated book of the year category, seeing off tough competition from the likes of Jamie Oliver for One and The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg.

A Pocketful of Happiness (The British Book Awards/Gallery UK, Simon & Schuster/PA)
A Pocketful of Happiness (The British Book Awards/Gallery UK, Simon & Schuster/PA)

For overall book of the year, it triumphed over renowned names including Richard E Grant, who won in the non-fiction audiobook of the year category for A Pocketful of Happiness, and former Love Island star Dr Alex George, who took home the prize for best children’s non-fiction for A Better Day.

It also beat titles which developed strong followings on social media such as Verity by Colleen Hoover, which won best pageturner, and Babel by R F Kuang, which won best fiction.

Bestselling novelist Bonnie Garmus, 66, who wrote her debut novel aged 64, was named author of the year for her comical fiction tale Lessons in Chemistry.

Alice Oseman, creator of the bestselling Heartstopper graphic novels which inspired the hit Netflix series, was awarded illustrator of the year.

Philip Jones, chair of the British Book Awards judges and The Bookseller’s editor, said: “Readers were the real winners this year, with titles ranging from Menopausing to Tyger to I’m a Fan demonstrating the remarkable virtuosity of the book business, especially for its role in amplifying and creating conversations around mental health, misogyny, sexuality and gender, the menopause and more.

“These awards give the lie to the idea that publishing is a one-track business: our judges this year opted to reward exceptional and compelling narratives expertly brought to market, with the book trade lauded for its commitment to promoting all types of reading for all types of reader.”

Alice O’Keeffe, chair of the book of the year judges and books editor, said: “Our panel of judges rose to the challenge of choosing the 2023 British Book Award winners from the strong shortlists this year.

“From mind-expanding fantasy to cerebral crime, and from heartfelt memoir to life-changing advice on the menopause, we celebrate these fabulous books and the dedication of publishers who bring them to readers everywhere.”