Davina McCall and Sir Salman Rushdie win at British Book Awards

A book about the menopause by TV presenter Davina McCall has scooped the top prize at the British Book Awards.

Menopausing, by McCall and Dr Naomi Potter, was named overall book of the year.

The so-called “Davina effect” saw a huge increase in demand for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after a Channel 4 documentary on the subject.

Novelist Sir Salman Rushdie was also honoured, nine months after being attacked on stage in New York.

McCall and Potter’s Menopausing was praised by a panel of judges which included Channel 4 newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy, broadcaster Anita Rani, and DJ Vick Hope.

Six months after publication, it continues to rank highly in the bestseller charts.

Guru-Murthy said the book had helped to start a national conversation about menopause.

He said the broadcaster and the menopause doctor had produced an authoritative and entertaining book about “an important and ignored subject”.

Long Lost Family presenter McCall has previously said she though she had a brain tumour or Alzheimer’s when suffering from perimenopausal symptoms.

Her experience with her changing hormones led her to the decision to campaign to increase awareness and destigmatise the menopause.

Her Channel 4 documentary Sex, Myths and Menopause was broadcast in 2021 and Menopausing was published in September 2022.

HRT prescriptions rose by 42% in the last year leading to shortages due to lack of supplies.

Salman Rushdie with his head in handIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Image caption,

Salman Rushdie says it is now difficult to publish in countries of the west

Meanwhile, Sir Salman Rushdie said he was proud to receive the Freedom to Publish award on behalf of “everybody fighting that fight”.

The award-winning writer lost the vision in one eye and spent six weeks in hospital after being attacked on stage ahead of a speech in New York in August 2022.

He has long faced death threats for his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses.

In his acceptance speech, he said: “We live in a moment, I think, at which freedom of expression, freedom to publish has not in my lifetime been under such threat in the countries of the West.”

The author said the freedom to publish was also the freedom to read what you want without it being decided for you externally.

Rushdie voiced concern about the loss of libraries and books for children in schools.

He described it as an “extraordinary attack” and added: “It is quite remarkably alarming, and we need to be very aware of it, and to fight against it very hard.”

He also warned publishers against altering the work of authors like Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming. He said they should resist that and allow books “to come to us from their time and be of their time.”

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judging panel said publishers had played a role in creating conversations around “mental health, misogyny, sexuality and gender, the menopause and more”.

Others who were recognised at the awards, which were held in London on Monday evening, include:

  • Bonnie Garmus, who wrote her debut novel Lessons in Chemistry when she was 64, was named author of the year
  • Richard E Grant, whose memoir A Pocketful of Happiness won the audiobook non-fiction award
  • Alice Oseman, the creator of the Heartstopper graphic novels which inspired the Netflix series, was named illustrator of the year
  • RF Kuang won fiction book of the year for her breakout success Babel
  • SF Said for Tyger, Dr Alex George for A Better Day, Sheena Patel for I’m a Fan, and Louise Kennedy for Trespasses

Related Articles

Back to top button