Books about royalty were a highlight of 2013, with the birth of Prince George (right) unleashing a right royal deluge of biographies of the young family, picture books of the young family, children’s books with cute cartoon versions the young family ... our favourite was by Nicholas Allan (practically a royal biographer since the huge success of his searingly insightful portrait The Queen’s Knickers in 1998): The Royal Nappy shows regal diapers since Henry VIII’s which, oddly, don’t get a mention in the year’s favourite history genre – the biographies of characters from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall books. And still they come: Robert Hutchinson’s Thomas Cromwell and Susan Bordo’s The Creation of Anne Boleyn are out in the new year.
If it wasn’t royals or Downton Abbey spin-offs, writers were all looking for the next big thing in weird erotic fiction. Sexy werehedgehogs and dinosaur erotica were the inevitable result.
And elsewhere ... the Man Booker Prize widened its entry criteria prompting panic that the Americans were coming; the new Folio Prize announced its first judging panel; Doris Lessing died, aged 94; and Howard Jacobson was mobbed by teenage girls at the Jaipur Literature Festival. There’s a 10-month waiting list for Eleanor Catton’s Booker-winning The Luminaries in her local library in New Zealand, so American librarians should get ready for Booker fever in 2014.