Nothing like a good cup of strong, hot coffee and a new set of books jostling for a British award, eh. The Costa Book Awards have been going since the early 1970s and will announce this new year’s Category Winners on the 4th January 2016 and their overall book winner of the year on the 26th of the same month. Meantime, the shortlist for all five categories (First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Novel) has just been announced, so here goes on the fiction side:
- “A God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson, featuring Ursula’s brother Teddy from her previous book “Life After Life” – now read, 10/10 : UPDATE 4 January : WINNER !!
- “The Green Road” by Anne Enright, also shortlisted for the Man Booker.
- “A Place Called Winter” by Patrick Gale, a turn-of-the-century departure to Edwardian England, transported to Canada 8/10.
- “At Hawthorn Time” by Melissa Harrison, authoress of début novel “Clay”, which Ali Smith named her Book of the Year in 2013, read April 2016, 8/10.
First Novel Shortlist
- “Spill Simmer Falter Wither” by Sara Baume, about a misfit man finding a misfit dog.
- “The Girl in the Red Coat” by Kate Hamer (the only one of the crop I’ve read so far, not for me at all, sadly marked it as a 5/10 read).
- “The Loney” by Andrew Michael Hurley, the one The Guardian makes me want to run out and buy this very minute : UPDATE : WINNER !
- “Things We Have in Common” by Tasha Kavanagh, spurred on to read this one to thanks to the great review by Clare at A Little Blog of Books.
Historically, bit of a mixed bag for me, but excited to read quite a few of the above. Love that the Costa crowd keep their winning criteria refreshingly unliterary – simply stating that they “recognise some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland”. Quite a few very enjoyable reads though on their list of winners going back over the last ten years :
Past decade Novel Winners
- 2014 = “How to be Both” by Ali Smith, 10/10,
- 2013 = “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson, 10/10
- 2012 + also Book of the Year = “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel, 7/10 (I know, I know)
- 2011 + also Book of the Year = “Pure” by Andrew Miller, 8/10
- 2010 = “The Hand That First Held Mine” by Maggie O’Farrell, 9/10
- 2009 = “Brooklyn” by Tolm Coibin, 8/10, now seen and adored the film
- 2008 + also Book of the Year = “The Secret Scripture” by Sebastian Barry – to read, need to get a move on re film coming
- 2007 + Costa Book of the Year = “Day” by A.L. Kennedy – to read
- 2006 = “Restless” by William Boyd, 8/10
Past decade First Novel Winners
- 2014 = “Elizabeth is Missing” by Emma Healey, 9/10
- 2013 + also Book of the Year = “The Shock of the Fall” by Nathan Filer, 10/10
- 2012 = The Innocents” by Francesca Segal – to read
- 2011 = “Tiny Sunbirds Far Away” by Christie Watson – to read
- 2010 = “Witness the Night” by Kishwar Desai – to read
- 2009 = “Beauty” by Raphael Selbourne – to read
- 2008 = “The Outcast” by Sadie Jones, 9/10 (but disappointed by subsequent publications “Small Wars” 8/10 and “The Uninvited Guests” 6/10)
- 2007 = “What Was Lost” by Catherine O’Flynn – to read
- 2006 + also Book of the Year” = “The Tenderness of Wolves” by Stef Penney, 8/10.
Still sitting on a copy of “H is for Hawk”, the biography winner written by Helen Macdonald which was proclaimed the Book of the Year for 2014. Heard nothing but good about this, onto that list it goes.
Right then, need to get a bit of a wiggle on to try and read at least a couple of these new nominees before the end of the year. Famous last.