To celebrate our Book of the Year Award, we asked our followers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to name the statuette from our official 2016 seal. After sifting through hundreds of entries, a clear victor emerged—The Lolly!

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"The Lolly" is a tribute to Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner, the very first book ever selected by Book of the Month back in 1926. At the time, BOTM judges voted to decide on monthly selections. Warner's book won by a large margin, even though the author was virtually unknown.

When told that Lolly Willowes had been selected, Warner said: "Any organization daring enough to pick an unknown author would be a valuable asset to contemporary literature."

sylvia Photo credit: Howard Coster, 1934/© National Portrait Gallery, London.


Warner went on to become a prolific writer. She wrote short stories for The New Yorker for decades, authored a travel guide and a biography of T.H. White, and edited a ten-volume on Tudor Church Music. She also co-authored a poetry collection with her life companion Valentine Ackland.

Warner died in 1978. Although largely forgotten after her death, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in her work. Lolly Willowes, a debut novel about personal freedom, uneasy friendships, and magic, still reverberates almost one hundred years later.

To this day, the Book of the Month Editorial Team strives to discover unorthodox themes, debut and emerging authors, and books that leave a lasting impression on readers. For current selections that embody the Lolly spirit, check out All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, The Queen of the Night, and The Wonder.

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