Costa Book Awards

 The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.

It’s unique for having five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book.

The winner in each category receives £5,000, and then one of the five winning books is selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year, receiving a further £30,000, and making a total prize fund of £55,000. The Costa is the only prize which places children’s books alongside adult books in this way.

The Costa Book Awards started life in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards. From 1985 they were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006, when Costa Coffee took over ownership from Whitbread.

Since 1971, the awards have rewarded a wide range of excellent books and authors across all genres.


The shortlist for each category is as follows:

Novel Award

  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • The Summer of Drowning by John Burnside
  • Pure by Andrew Miller
  • My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young


First Novel Award

  • City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
  • The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness
  • Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
  • Pao by Kerry Young


Biography Award

  • Thin Paths: Journeys In and Around an Italian Mountain Village by Julia Blackburn
  • Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia – A Father and Son’s Story by Patrick and Henry Cockburn
  • All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas by Matthew Hollis
  • Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin


Poetry Award

  • The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy
  • Night by David Harsent
  • Fiere by Jackie Kay
  • November by Sean O’Brien


Children’s Book Award

  • Flip by Martyn Bedford
  • The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
  • Blood Red road by Moira Young


The winners will be announced on Wednesday 4th January 2012.


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