If, like me, you can’t resist checking out literary prizes from around the world, mainly to either catch up with books I might have overlooked or else to rail against the absurdity of the judges’ choices, here are the five category winners in the newly announced 2019 Costa Awards. The award is open to UK and Irish residents and each of the category winners takes home £5,000.
The winner of the overall 2019 Costa Book of the Year, will be announced on Jan 28th.
First novel award – The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins. Historical novel about a servant and former slave in Jamaica accused of murdering her employer and his wife that moves from Jamaican sugar fields to Georgian London. Published by Harper Collins.
Novel award – Middle England by Jonathan Coe. Written about Britain on either side of the Brexit vote it was described by judges as “the perfect book for now” . Published by Viking Press.
Biography award – The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather. Amazing story of the Polish soldier Witold Pilecki. Published by HarperCollins.
Poetry award – Flèche by Mary Jean Chan. Debut collection by Hong Kong Poet C han, examines the complexity of relationships. Published by Allen&Unwin.
Children’s book award – Asha & the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan: A young girl in rural India, guided by an amazing bird, sets off to find her father and save her family’s home. Published by Chicken House Books
The short list for each of the categories was:
2019 Costa First Novel Award shortlist: Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston (Picador); Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze); The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking): The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen (The Borough Press)
2019 Costa Novel Award shortlist: Middle England by Jonathan Coe (Viking); Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach (Head of Zeus); Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre); Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)
2019 Costa Biography Award shortlist: On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons by Laura Cumming (Chatto & Windus); The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather (WH Allen); In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus); The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels by Adam Nicolson (William Collins).
2019 Costa Poetry Award shortlist: Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus); Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber); The Mizzy by Paul Farley (Picador); Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough (Penned in the Margins).
2019 Costa Children’s Award shortlist; Asha & the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan (Chicken House); Crossfire by Malorie Blackman (Penguin Books); In the Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling (Chicken House); Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books).