The category winners for the 2016 Costa Book Awards have been announced and it’s an incredible list. Congratulations to all the winners!
First Novel Award: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
(Faber & Faber)
New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, 1746. One rainy evening, a charming and handsome young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting-house in Golden Hill Street, with a suspicious yet compelling proposition – he has an order for a thousand
pounds in his pocket that he wishes to cash. But can he be trusted? This is New York in its infancy, a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love, and find a world of trouble . . .
Novel Award: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
(Faber & Faber)
After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both witness and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.
Biography Award: Dadland by Keggie Carew
(Chatto & Windus)
Keggie Carew grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father who lived on his wits and dazzling charm. As his memory begins to fail, she embarks on a quest to unravel his story, and soon finds herself in a far more consuming place than she had bargained for. Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself. As a member of an elite SOE unit he was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerrilla resistance in France, then Burma, in the Second World War. But his wartime exploits are only the start of it…..
Poetry Award: Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
(Jonathan Cape Poetry)
Mutability – a sense that all matter is unstable in the face of mortality – is at the heart of this
collection, and each poem is involved in that drama: the held tension that is embodied life, and
life’s losing struggle with the gravity of nature. Working as before with an ear to the oral
tradition, these poems attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language
as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh,fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary,
repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud.
Children’s Award: The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Charlie has always lived in Little Town. It’s home: the curfew, the Regime, the thugs, the poverty. He knows the rules. Then he meets Pavel. Scrawny, sweary, with fierce blue eyes, he is a refugee from Old Country – Little Town’s sworn enemy. The wrongest person in the whole place to choose as a friend. But when the bombs come, the rules of Little Town change. Country or friend? Trust or betrayal? Future or past? Right or wrong: Charlie must choose.
The winners all sound amazing, and it’ll be interesting to see who will snag the overall winner prize at the end of this month.