Perhaps a little on the late side, but I’m delighted to see the late poet and author Helen Dunmore won the 2017 Costa Book of the Year.
Inside the Wave, Dunmore’s tenth collection, explores the borderline between the living and the dead – the underworld and the living world – and includes her final poem, ‘Hold out your arms’, written shortly before her death in June 2017, aged 64. The award, a cheque for £30,000, was accepted by her son Patrick Charnley from Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa.
Wendy Holden, chair of the final judges, said: “We all felt this is a modern classic; a fantastic collection, life affirming and uplifting. The poems carry powerful messages that speak to all of us.”
A final judging panel included contributing editor to British Vogue, Laura Bailey; author and presenter, Fern Britton; actor Art Malik; BBC presenter and journalist Sophie Raworth; writers Piers Torday, Freya North and Simon Garfield; and poet Moniza Alvi.
Poetry has a strong record in the Costa Book Awards. Inside the Wave (Bloodaxe Books), is the eighth collection of poetry to take the overall prize. Helen Dunmore is the second writer to take the overall prize posthumously in the Award’s 46-year history. Ted Hughes won in 1998 for Birthday Letters.
Luan Goldie wins Short Story Award
Primary school teacher and former business journalist, Luan Goldie from Newham in East London, won the public vote and £3,500 for her story, Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns.