The Shadow Panel

For the first time, the 2016 award was chronicled by an official shadow judging panel made up of some of the country’s leading book bloggers

The 2016 Shadow Panel read and discussed the four books shortlisted by the Judges – and Dan Dalton, Books Editor at Buzzfeed, chaired the Shadow Panel.


2016 Shortlist & Winner

  • Read more

    Benjamin Wood – The Ecliptic

    “Benjamin Wood constructs his story carefully so that the past reflects meaningfully upon the present in Elspeth’s journey as an artist. All the while it has tremendous momentum and drive making it compulsively readable. The closest comparison I can make for Wood’s novel is Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” for the way in which it deals with high concepts about art in a way which is utterly unpretentious and tells a cracking good story at the same time. The ending has left me thinking hard about how we create and commune with art. “The Ecliptic” is a passionate, invigorating and expertly conceived novel.”


    Eric Karl Anderson, Lonesome Reader
  • Read more

    Andrew McMillan – Physical

    “And everything is written with a refreshing candour and raw emotion. It’s almost as though McMillan ripped his heart out and pinned it dripping to the pages of this short book. Yet it’s not without a sense of humour, as the title alone of The Fact we Almost Killed a Badger is Incidental may suggest.  All up, I very much enjoyed this collection of poems — it took me right out of my comfort zone but I was in good hands.”


    Kim Forrester, Reading Matters
  • Read more

    Jessie Greengrass – An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It

    An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It is a confident collection exploring some fundamentally human issues through some of the most mundane of situations and some of the most extraordinary. It’s an interesting collection in which the stories are often densely packed with the narrator’s thoughts – this is very much a series of protagonists who tell you their stories. I’m interested to see where Greengrass goes next..”


    Naomi Frisby, The Writes of Women
  • Read more

    Max Porter – Grief is the Thing with Feathers

    “So to put it simply, I think that Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a rather exceptional book. It is one which puts you through the ringer, leaving you distraught and then hopeful. It is the sort of book you rush through once and then have to go back through and read slowly taking all the intricacies in and then pondering over it all afterwards. It resonated with me and affected me, which is all I ever hope for from a book – one of my books of the year.”


    Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads


You can follow along with the Shadow Panel‘s thoughts on twitter with