Congratulations to the five winning authors:
- Stuart Turton takes the First Novel Award for his debut, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, a high-concept crime novel;
- Irish novelist Sally Rooney wins the Novel Award for her second novel Normal People, becoming the youngest-ever recipient of the Award;
- Oxford Professor Bart van Es wins the Biography Award for his memoir The Cut Out Girl, a deeply moving story of war, families, loss, survival and friendship;
- Scottish poet J.O. Morgan wins the Poetry Award for Assurances, a book-length war-poem in part inspired by his father who was a former RAF officer involved in maintaining Britain’s Airborne Nuclear Deterrent;
- The Children’s Book Award goes to Hilary McKay for The Skylark’s War, an evocative and heartbreaking novel of family and friendship in wartime.
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and recognises some of the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year.
One of whose books will be named 2018 Costa Book of the Year on 29th January
Just finished the excellent debut novel by Barney Norris.
‘Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain’ (Transworld) is set in and around Salisbury, Wilts, and is a very readable composition. Norris weaves together the lives of seemingly ordinary people – a flower-seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a widower and a security guard. We see how each of them deals with their own very different tragedies – perhaps not so tragic in the great scheme of things – but vital to them as it moulds their lives.
It’s refreshing to see five separate, but interesting lives, gradually intertwine, albeit in unexpected ways. It’s not a heavy story and is certainly worth a re-read even if it’s only certain stories. Highly recommended and a great debut novel.
Just completed another tome in my ever-growing collection – A God in Ruins (Black Swan) – another of Kate Atkinson’s novels. It was a Costa Novel Award winner for 2015. This I enjoyed much more that her Life After Life. It traces the life of one of her characters from her previous book but this time I felt the narrative rolled out much better – it’s even a novel I’d read again if I ever have the time. So many of the people she portrays are ones I certainly recognise, ones that I’ve met over the years. Worth saying that the novel stands on its own, so if you’ve not read Life After Life it won’t matter.