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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 10:19 GMT
Lawson beats Potter magic
Nigella Lawson arriving at the London Hilton for the awards ceremony
Domestic goddess: Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson's comfort cookery and Tony Parsons' parental pains have beaten off competition from JK Rowling's Harry Potter to win the top prizes at this year's British Book Awards.

Lawson, whose How to be a Domestic Goddess has seen her become the latest high-profile chef, was named author of the year.

Jamie Oliver at the British Book Awards
Oliver: Considering moving to the United States
The book of the year award went to Parsons, whose semi-autobiographical Man And Boy, about a father-and-son relationship, was one of the surprise successes of last year.

Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, who was nominated for best book, revealed that he could quit Britain for the United States as his career there is "really going off".

JK Rowling had to make do with an award for best marketing campaign and best publisher for Bloomsbury.

The latest Harry Potter story, The Goblet of Fire, was also beaten to the best children's book award by Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass.

Zadie Smith
Smith: Won widespread praise for her debut
The year's hottest literary property, Zadie Smith, was named best newcomer for her much-lauded debut White Teeth, which has also been nominated for a handful of other awards.

Smith was away on a European book tour and so could not collect her prize in person.

Achieving perfection

Ms Lawson said she felt tremendously proud to have been named author of the year but she said her book was not necessarily about telling people how to achieve perfection but rather helping them feel as if they had.

The best author nominations also included Ian Rankin and Colin Dexter. Rowling won the award last year.

JK Rowling at last year's British Book Awards
Rowling won best author at last year's awards
Parsons, who triumphed in the best book category, has seen his novel sell more than three quarters of a million copies.

His rival in that category, Jamie Oliver, told reporters that despite difficulties in understanding him, Americans loved his TV show.

"They do not understand what I am talking about but when they see the food and the colours they get really excited," he said.

Also honoured were The Beatles Anthology for best illustrated book, Terry Pratchett for services to bookselling, David Beckham's My World for best cover design, with a lifetime achievement award for veteran publisher Ernest Hecht.

The main winners:

  • Author of the Year: Nigella Lawson

  • Book of the Year: Man & Boy - Tony Parsons

  • Newcomer of the Year: Zadie Smith

  • Children's Book of the Year: The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

  • Illustrated Book of the Year: The Beatles Anthology

  • Services to Bookselling Award: Terry Pratchett

  • Publisher of the Year Award: Bloomsbury

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Ernest Hecht

The BBC's Rebecca Lovell
"What bigger accolade for an author than to get the thumbs up from the industry"
See also:

21 Feb 01 | Entertainment
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24 Jan 01 | Entertainment
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04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
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04 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Harry Potter's Whitbread revenge
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