I love book prizes. A lot. And now in the time between the Man Booker and my personal favourite the Women’s Prize for fiction, I thought I might take the time to talk about the Costa Book Awards. While not quite as prestigious as the aforementioned, it is a prize that I personally really enjoy. I enjoy the focus on accessibility and I like the different categories. I also like that it is a UK book prize and only open to authors based in the UK. I just find that this helps to highlight different books.
I am mostly interested in the categories First Novel Award, Novel Award, and the Biography Award. While I am glad the prize has categories for Poetry and Children’s Fiction, those just are genres I don’t read that often. You can find the complete lists, including further information here.
Below are my short, unstructured reactions to the three shortlists.
2018 Costa First Novel Award
- Natalie Hart – Pieces of Me
- Elisa Lodato – An Unremarkable Body
- Stuart Turton – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
- Anne Youngson – Meet Me at the Museum
I have only read the Stuart Turton (and enjoyed it immensely but it is not without its flaws) and the only one of the other three that I have heard of is the Elisa Lodato – which has a brilliant cover but sounds too depressing for my current mood. Anne Youngson is a Birmingham alumni like me which makes me irrationally happy. I obviously like that there are three women on the list.
2018 Costa Novel Award
- Pat Barker – The Silence of the Girls
- Tom Rachman – The Italian Teacher
- Sally Rooney – Normal People
- Donal Ryan – From a Low and Quiet Sea
Again, I have only read one of these books, Donal Ryan’s beautiful From a Low and Quiet Sea, but at least this time around I have heard of all the books. I really need to get to the Rooney, the reviews are super positive and she seems to be THE writer to watch.
2018 Biography Award
- Viv Albertine – To Throw Away Unopened
- Bart van Es – The Cut Out Girl
- Raynor Winn – The Salt Path
- Benjamin Zephaniah – The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobiography
Shockingly I have heard of none of those. But I am super intrigued by the Raynor Winn (memoirs about loss are something I appreciate a lot and then coupled with hiking? Count me in) and the Benjamin Zephaniah (also from Birmingham!).
Every time bookish shortlists are announced I realize that I do not know as much about the books coming out as I would like to think. But I do love the process of discouvering new books this way. Have you read or you plan on reading any of these books?