Katherine Rundell has been awarded the Waterstones book of 2023 for her “instant classic” work.
Katherine Rundell’s Impossible Creatures has been selected as the Waterstones book of the year for 2023.
Booksellers chose the children’s book as their top recommendation for readers in the past year. The novel is set in a magical archipelago where mythical creatures still exist.
Rundell expressed her excitement upon receiving the news, stating that she was “truly overjoyed.” She initially had doubts but was convinced after her editor provided written confirmation.
Alongside Impossible Creatures, In Memoriam by Alice Winn was named Waterstones novel of the year, and Murdle by GT Karber was named Waterstones gift of the year. Winn also won the Waterstones debut fiction prize in August.
Bea Carvalho, head of books at Waterstones, described “Impossible Creatures” as a masterpiece of fiction with impeccable world-building, captivating storytelling, and endless adventure. She believes it will become a timeless classic that will enchant children and remind adults of the brilliance found in children’s literature.
Rundell emerged victorious among 13 other nominated writers, including Zadie Smith with her historical book The Fraud and Ann Patchett for Tom Lake.
Rundell is the author of numerous books geared towards children, such as the acclaimed Rooftoppers which received both the Waterstones children’s book prize and the Blue Peter book award for best story in 2014. In addition, she has also published three non-fiction works for adult readers, including Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, which was awarded the Baillie Gifford prize last year, and The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure, which was a finalist for last year’s Waterstones book of the year.
Rundell expressed excitement in the fact that this particular book has received recognition over her other works. As a children’s book that is also intended for adult readers, she believes it has the potential to resonate with everyone. She views it as a culmination of all her knowledge, experiences, and research from her 15 years as a working author.
She stated that books for children serve as a means of discussing our beliefs and passions in a broader sense. Additionally, she likened them to philosophy’s more vibrant relative.
In 2016, Rundell initially contacted her agent regarding the book. She then dedicated several hundred hours to researching mythical creatures in libraries, which brought her great joy.
She mentioned that she is currently writing the second installment of the Impossible Creatures series, which will consist of at least three books.
In the year 2022, Katy Hessel’s book, The Story of Art Without Men, was awarded the title of book of the year. Past winners have included Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, John Williams’ Stoner, and Sally Rooney’s Normal People.