Page last updated at 01:55 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Obama leads book prize shortlist

Barack Obama
Barack Obama completed a book tour before running for President

US president Barack Obama leads the nominations for this year's British Book Awards by making the shortlist for both author and biography of the year.

Obama's political tract, The Audacity of Hope, and his life story, Dreams from My Father, became UK bestsellers during his 2008 run for office.

Kate Summerscale, who won last year's Samuel Johnson prize, is also nominated twice for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 3 April.

Strong competition

Dreams from My Father was written before Obama thought of entering politics and was originally published in 1995. It tells of his early life as a black boy growing up with his white grandparents and is frank about his drug use and flirtations with the Black Power movement.

The book faces strong competition for biography of the year from bestselling memoirs by JG Ballard, Dawn French, Paul O'Grady, Julie Walters and Marcus Trescothick.

Obama's rivals for author of the year include American Stephanie Meyer. The four volumes of her teenage vampire saga, Twilight, are currently the four best selling children's books in the UK according to industry magazine The Bookseller.

Others to get best author nods are Rose Tremain, Diana Athill, Costa prize winner Sebastian Barry and Aravind Adiga, who picked up the 2008 Booker prize.

Tom Rob Smith's thriller Child 44 gets nominations in both the newcomer and the crime thriller categories.

Kate Atkinson's When Will There Be Good News, her third novel about ex-cop Jackson Brodie, also gets two nods. It is nominated for crime thriller and in the best read category which will be voted for by the public.

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