Kate Atkinson has won the prize for best novel at the Costa Book Awards 2013, one that she won nearly 20 years ago when her debut book bagged the prize with her eighth novel Life After Life . The prize used to be known as the Whitbread and Kate’s debut novel was Behind The Scenes At The Museum. She follows in the footsteps of William Boyd, who won the first novel award in 1981 and the novel award in 2006, and Jim Crace, who took best debut novel in 1986 and best novel in 1997. If she wins, she’ll join Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes who have won the overall prize twice.
The winners of each category receive £5,000 and the overall winner gets a further £30,000.
Life After Life is also up for the Waterstone’s Book of the Year award and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was also a controversial omission from the 2013 Man Booker Prize longlist.
The Costa received 617 entries this year for the five categories: first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children’s book. The other four finalists are
Drysalter by Michael Symmons Roberts. He has won the poetry award for the second time with this sixth collection.
Goth Girl And The Ghost Of A Mouse by cartoonist, author and illustrator Chris Riddell has won the children’s book award
The Pike, an account of the life of poet Gabriele D’Annunzio by Lucy Hughes-Hallett. has won biography award. It won Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for the same work.
William Hill have Hughes-Hallett favourite to win book of the year at 2-1, followed by Atkinson at 5-2. If either win the overall prize, then women will have won all the recent major literary awards.