Costa Short Story Awards finalists announced

The Costa Short Story Award 2014 finalists have been announced.

The judging panel included writers Patrick Gale and Victoria Hislop; Richard Beard, director of the National Academy of Writing; Fanny Blake, novelist, journalist and Books Editor of Woman & Home magazine; and Simon Trewin, agent at William Morris Endeavor.

It was then made available on the Costa Book Awards website for the public to download and read, and then vote for their favourite, although the names of the authors were only revealed on 19th January, after the vote for the winner had closed.

 The six shortlisted authors are Paula Cunningham, Zoe Gilbert, Jane Healey, Joanne Meek, Mark Newman and Lucy Ribchester, you can listen to their stories on the Costa website

 The Costa Short Story Award was started in 2012 and is judged without the name of the author being known throughout the process. It is open to both published and unpublished writers, for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English.

 The winner is decided by public vote and this year’s will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on 27th January. The winning writer gets £3,500, with second place receiving £1,500 and third place £500.


Costa Book Award winners announced

Five children on the Western FrontThe Costa Book Awards have been announced. Now in its 43rd year – previously named the Whitbread Prize – it’s open to authors who live in the UK and Ireland and is the only award to recognise books across five different categories. There were 640 entries, (each category winner wins £5,000 and the chance to win the ultimate prize for the 2014 Costa Book of the Year) Previous winners include Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall and Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies. The Book of the Year will be announced on 27 January.

Costa Novel Award –  How to be both by Ali Smith

Costa First Novel Award  –  Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Costa Biography Award –  H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Costa Children’s Book Award –  Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders

Costa Poetry Award –  My Family and Other Superheroes by Jonathan Edwards

The children’s category winner is an adaptation of E Nesbitt’s Five Children; Five Children on the Western Front, by journalist and children’s writer Kate Saunders, was called “a modern masterpiece” by the judges for moving Nesbitt’s original characters into the trenches of WW1. Nesbitt’s character the Psammead, whom the grown children must help to return home is revived.

How to be Both, by Ali Smith is her 6th novel and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and is about grief and the experience of making and appreciating art. It has two different beginnings, one in the 15th century and another in the present day. Which one readers embark upon depends on which copy they buy. The judges praised Smith’s narrative concept and the “consummate ease and daring” with which she deployed it.

Emma Healey’s debut novel, Elizabeth Is Missing which won the First novel award is narrated by a 90-year-old woman with dementia.  The author was praised for her “incredible flair and unusual skill” by the judges, who called the mystery novel “a very special book”.

Helen Macdonald’s Samuel Johnson Prize-winning  H is for Hawk is about grief and falconry. Macdonald immersed herself in falconry following the death of her father. Her account explains how she dealt with grief by training her own goshawk.

Costa Book Awards – Biography shortlist

The icebergThe Costa Book Awards Biography shortlist has been announced, all these are in stock if you like the look of them. It’s certainly a wide ranging list.

John Campbell for Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life Best Prime Minister we never had?

Marion Coutts for The Iceberg: A Memoir Marian Coutts’ account of the time leading up to her husband’s death from a brain tumour

Helen Macdonald for H is for Hawk Already a prize winner, (Samuel Johnson), a memoir of battling grief and training a hawk.

Henry Marsh for Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery

If you want to find out the drama of the operating theatre, this is for you