The shortlist has just been announced for this year’s Costa Book Awards and it’s a corker!
I really like this prize as it has a wide variety of categories and lots of titles up for consideration. The judging panels are eclectic and broad, bringing together a huge range of readers, writers, publishers and big-wigs from the publishing world. It’s a great way of scouring through some of the year’s best titles, and meeting some new authors along the way.
So, what’s on the shortlist, I hear you cry? I’ll stop rambling and tell you.
Costa Novel Award
This is the flagship category and includes these four beauties:
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Parry
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
These top titles will be judged by a trio featuring a writer, editor and bookseller (that’s a dinner party right there, isn’t it?). On the panel for this category is Matthew Bates, Fiction Buyer for WHSmith Travel, author Nicci Gerrard and Lisa O’Kelly, Literary Editor for The Observer.
Costa First Novel Award
This is a brilliant place to get to know new writers and sample their first works. Up for the nod are these four newbies:
The Good Guy by Susan Beale
My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
The Words in My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
This category has a prestigious judging panel comprising writer Justin Cartwright, Charlotte Heathcote, Literary Editor, Daily and Sunday Express, and Sheryl Shurville Co-owner of Chorleywood and Gerrards Cross Bookshops. I can’t wait to hear what an author, editor and bookseller make of the competing quartet of debut books.
We then get into the specialist categories of biography, poetry and children’s books.
Costa Biography Award
Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years by John Guy
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between by Hisham Matar
I’m Not With the Band: A Writer’s Life Lost in Music by Sylvia Patterson
Costa Poetry Award
Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
Say Something Back by Denise Riley
Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest
Costa Children’s Book Award
The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford
To find out more about each of these books, check out this summary from the awards website.
There really are some fantastic titles to discover in this list, and it’s a wondeful mix of this year’s best reads. I’m setting myself the challenge of reading the Novel and First Novel categories before the winners are announced on 3 January.
That’s eight books in six weeks. That’s a book and a half a week. That’s approximately 20 cups of coffee and 10 cups of top-up espresso. I better get cracking…