Costa Book Awards

Costa Book Awards – the shortlist

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 Book Awards logo

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…


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