A 'prize winner' sticker is a powerful thing in the book world, which is why literary awards - particularly the big ones - are important for far more than giving authors an excuse to get their party clothes on and slap one another on the back.
From the Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award right the way up to the Nobel Prize for Literature, accolades across fiction, non-fiction and poetry can transform the fortunes of the writers involved and draw attention to classics that would otherwise have floated adrift in the sea of new titles published each year.
They can also be a cause of controversy. This year saw mixed fortunes for Alan Hollinghurst and his much-admired novel The Stranger's Child which was excluded from a Booker shortlist that insisted on favouring 'readability'. Hollinghurst was then named Author of the Year at the British Book Awards - ironically a far more 'populist' affair that also rewarded Dawn French for her first foray into fiction.
Elsewhere this year Derek Walcott moved on from the scandal of withdrawing from 2009's Oxford professor of poetry election to claim the TS Eliot prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction found its youngest ever winner in the form of Téa Obreht.
Click on the slideshow below to see a round up of the year's major prize winning books.
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