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Book celebrating female artists scoops Waterstones Book Of The Year title

The writer fought off competition from nine shortlisted titles who were vying for the accolade.

The Story Of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel has been named the Waterstones Book Of The Year 2022.

The non-fiction book, described as a “feast for the eyes”, overturns the reader’s sense of art history and challenges the narrative.

Hessel is an art historian, presenter and curator dedicated to celebrating female artists and has founded The Great Women Artists and a podcast of the same name.

She fought off competition from nine shortlisted titles who were vying for the accolade, which is awarded annually to a book published in the previous 12 months and is voted for by a panel of Waterstones booksellers.

Kate Skipper, Waterstones chief operating officer, said: “Our booksellers championed The Story of Art Without Men from the start. It is a must-have for any booklover’s shelf, as essential as it is enjoyable.

“Written with wit and ease, the resulting book, packed full of beautiful illustrations, can be devoured in one sitting or dipped into at a whim.

“This is a book which will be prized for years to come, a feast for the senses, as well as the mind.”

Meanwhile Bonnie Garmus, who wrote Lessons In Chemistry, was named Waterstones Author Of The Year.

The copywriter and creative director – who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education – was an unknown author until April this year.

Her debut novel is described as an uplifting and heart-breaking love letter to science which also paints a vivid portrait of 1950s America and what it meant to be a woman at that time.

Bea Carvalho, Waterstones head of fiction, said: “We are delighted to name Bonnie Garmus Waterstones Author of the Year in recognition of the astronomical success of her wonderful debut novel Lessons in Chemistry.

“Bonnie has written that rare novel which readers of all tastes will adore: funny yet furious, uplifting yet heart-breaking, it is a deft slice of social history, and a triumphant testament to the craft of fiction writing which underlines how powerful and joyful the genre can be.

“It has been our greatest pleasure to recommend Lessons In Chemistry to Waterstones customers this year, and we cannot wait to see what this exciting, boundary pushing author does next.”

The Waterstones Children’s Book Of The Year was awarded to Skandar And The Unicorn Thief by AF Steadman.

The tale is described as a truly immersive world steeped in fantastical settings, elemental magic and a captivating mystery.

Florentyna Martin, Waterstones head of children’s, said: “Skandar And The Unicorn Thief has been enthusiastically embraced by our booksellers, who have championed AF Steadman’s lively and original debut from day one.

“Her fierce unicorn creations and impressive combinations of elemental magic, successfully play with readers’ expectations of the traditional fantasy adventure, shaking up the next wave of storytelling.”

Last year, the prize was won by Sir Paul McCartney for his book The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present.

Sir Paul’s book traces his life from boyhood to the present day and his six-decade long career through the lyrics to 154 celebrated songs, providing a unique insight into the songwriter’s life.