A St Albans-based artist has seen her work shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2019.

Grace Easton, together with Jessica Smith, illustrated Prisoners Of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps, written by Tim Marshall. The book is one of 11 titles vying for the award, with the wide-ranging shortlist comprising four novels, two works of non-fiction, three children’s books, an illustrated fable and a cookery book.

Every year, Waterstones booksellers are called on to nominate a title which they find truly outstanding, and in which they have felt the most pride recommending to readers over the last 12 months. Last year’s winner, Normal People by Sally Rooney, had escaped proper recognition until she won the Waterstones Book of the Year. Her book then became the runaway Christmas bestseller and went on to become one of 2018’s biggest selling books.

James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, said: “That we have a shortlist of 11 gives indication of the nature of the Waterstones Book of the Year. It follows no rule other than that our booksellers must love these books and wish to see them in the hands of more readers.”

Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children’s Buyer, said: “Prisoners of Geography is a fresh guide to the world is an informative fusion of geography and history. Based on Tim Marshall’s 30 years of reporting, this unique book hits a sweet spot of reading: holding a broad topic scope whilst remaining directly engaging to younger readers. The clear maps and illustrations from Grace Easton and Jessica Smith skilfully carve out the facts through images, providing a colourful way to absorb the information.”

Grace Easton is an author and illustrator based in St Albans. She studied Illustration at Central Saint Martins and her work has been recognised internationally by the Society of Illustrators New York, Society of Illustration West and the Young Creative Network.

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Also nominated is The House Without Windows, a rediscovered children’s classic written by Barbara Newhall-Follett in 1923 at the age of 12. This celebration of nature writing is a powerful story for modern times.

The third children’s title on the shortlist is Sabina Radeva’s retelling of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, a beautiful blend of science and illustration, charting the theory of evolution through a concise and engaging story.

In fiction, Candice Carty-Williams’ debut novel Queenie heralds the arrival of an important and exciting new voice in contemporary fiction which is at once funny, wise and deeply moving.

Max Porter’s lyrical, symphonic second novel Lanny is an atmospheric celebration of childhood and nature, steeped in folklore.

Propelled to bestseller status by bookseller recommendation, The Binding, Bridget Collins’ evocative debut, is a love-letter to books and storytelling.

The last fiction title on the list needs no introduction; The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s highly anticipated new vision of Gilead, serves as a mirror to our own turbulent times.

If different in size, the two non-fiction titles on this year’s shortlist are very similar in might. Underland is a work of huge range and power. Robert Macfarlane takes the reader underground to the catacombs of Paris, caves in the Arctic Circle and many other strange and fascinating places to tell a story about nature, humanity, and time.

Joining him on the list is the powerful voice of climate activist Greta Thunberg. No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference is an urgent call to action to save our planet.

Charlie Mackesy’s beautifully produced collection of gently inspirational illustrations tells heart-warming stories of the friendship between the quartet of titular characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a timely reminder of the most important things in life.

The shortlist is completed with its sole cookery book, Dishoom. A beautifully produced cookbook, there’s much to be gained for the home cook here, but beyond the recipes, this is as much a travelogue, a work of social history on the culture of 1900s Bombay and a celebration of the unifying power of food and cookery.

The Waterstones Book of the Year 2019 will be chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by James Daunt and will be announced on Wednesday, November 27.