Through her Labyrinth, Mosse wins read of the year

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The Independent Culture

The day after her blockbuster Labyrinth was featured on Richard & Judy's book club, an extra 60,000 copies flew off booksellers' shelves. Last night, Kate Mosse's success was sealed when her book was named Best Read of the Year at the British Book Awards.

It is the first time that Mosse, a co-founder of the Orange Prize for Fiction, had won a literary prize for one of her own books. Her win is due in no small part to receiving the seal of approval from Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan's television book slot - now one of the most powerful forces in UK publishing.

Mosse joined fellow winners Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff, Jamie Oliver, Alan Bennett, J K Rowling and Sharon Osbourne at the only awards ceremony voted for by the public.

Labyrinth, which has now sold more than 750,000 copies, weaves the tale of an Englishwoman working on a French archaeological dig in 2005 with that of a young girl living in Carcassonne in the 13th century.

Like Dan Brown's controversial best-seller The Da Vinci Code, Mosse's thriller draws heavily on the myth of the Holy Grail. It combines the pace of a beach read with historical detail about the plight of the Cathars, a heretical sect living in the Pays d'Oc against whom the northern French noblemen and clergy waged a Papal crusade. It beat nine other books including Julian Barnes' Booker-shortlisted Arthur & George, to win the prize. But Mosse lost out in the Popular Fiction category to Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.

Waterstone's fiction buyer Rodney Troubridge said: "Certainly, the nation's favourite in terms of sales, it is an accessible novel and stomping good read."

Returning from India, Flintoff scooped the award for Sports Book of the Year for his autobiography, Being Freddie, beating the yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, the sports writer Gary Imlach and the record-breaking motorcyclist Valentino Rossi.

The actor Rupert Everett presented Alan Bennett with the Author of the Year award. Bennett triumphed over former Booker-prize winners Kazuo Ishiguro and John Banville, as well as Carlos Ruiz Zafon, whose book The Shadow of the Wind has sold more than one million copies.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince brought more glory for Rowling, winning Book of the Year. The former Mirror editor Piers Morgan, whose memoir The Insider was a runner-up in the category, gamely turned up to the ceremony at London's Grosvenor Hotel. But his nemesis, Jeremy Clarkson, with whom Morgan famously clashed at the British Press Awards, was a "no-show " to see his offering The World According to Clarkson miss out.

The X-Factor judge Sharon Osbourne won Biography of the Year for Extreme: My Autobiography, beating John Peel's autobiography Margrave of the Marshes, which was completed after his death by his wife, Sheila Ravenscroft.

Marina Lewycka won Newcomer of the Year for her Orange-shortlisted novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

The winners

Book of the Year

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J K Rowling

The sixth instalment of the boy wizard saga is even darker than its predecessors

Sports Book of the Year

Being Freddie by Andrew Flintoff

Ashes hero tells a lively tale of the life and career of a cricketer at the top of his game

Best Read

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Englishwoman Alice Tanner stumbles across an ancient symbol that propels her back to 13th-century Carcassonne

Author of the Year

Alan Bennett

The Leeds-born author is one of Britain's most prolific writers, from Talking Heads to The Madness of King George

Newcomer of the Year

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Two sisters must save their father from a ruthless blonde

Popular Fiction Award

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

A surreal love story about a librarian who disappears and reappears through time

Biography of the Year

Extreme: My Autobiography by Sharon Osbourne

Married to rocker Ozzie, Sharon shot to fame with a reality TV show on her family

Children's Book of the Year

Ark Angel by Anthony Horowitz

High adventure as the world's most successful 14-year-old spy fights for his life

Crime Thriller of the Year

The Take by Martina Cole

The latest of 11 novels based in London's gangland, with Jackie Jackson welcoming back her husband Freddie from prison

History Book of the Year

Auschwitz by Laurence Rees

Rees explains how Auschwitz became the site of the mass murder of one million Jews

Writer of the Year

26a by Diana Evans

A searching narrative of the dilemmas of a twin's need for independence and her fear of being alone

TV & Film Book of the Year

The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré

Thriller set in Africa for which Rachel Weisz won an Oscar for best supporting actress

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