The winners have been revealed! We’re happy to report the 2012 Costa Book Awards winner in each of the following categories: Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry, and Children’s. It was a great year, particularly for fiction, where all of the nominees were truly deserving.
First, for those unfamiliar with the Costa Book Awards, they are described as follows on their official website:
The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognizes some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.
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.
Below you’ll find a brief description of each of the winners along with links to deeper reviews where applicable.
Novel Winner: Bring up the Bodies
By Hilary Mantel
WINNER OF THE 2012 MAN BOOKER PRIZE
The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn
Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.
At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head? (from the hardcover edition)
First Novel Winner: The Innocents
By Francesca Segal
At the age of twenty-eight, Adam is engaged to Rachel, his girlfriend of twelve years, and can foresee a brilliant future: partnership in his father-in-law’s legal firm, holidays with their extended families on the Red Sea, evenings out with the friends they’ve known since childhood in the well-heeled London neighbourhood they’ve shared since birth. It’s a perfect match: the fulfillment of the desires and expectations of everyone Adam knows and loves.
When Rachel’s beautiful cousin Ellie suddenly appears in shul at the beginning of Yom Kippur, having returned to London to escape her scandal-touched past in New York, Adam’s comfortable perspective and chosen life path begin, for the first time, to feel uncomfortable. Initially troubled by Ellie’s presence and the gossip that her questionable history arouses, he soon finds himself dangerously drawn to the worldly, vulnerable young woman, his imagination ignited by her fierce independence and lack of regard for convention. As their impossible relationship plays itself out under the watchful eyes of their close-knit community, Adam is forced to examine the competing demands of his heart and re-evaluate every choice he has ever made.
The Innocents portrays modern-day Jewish life with both wit and empathy, guiding us effortlessly through a contemporary cultural milieu whose social rules, both spoken and unspoken, are just as claustrophobic as those of 19th-century New York. Heralding the arrival of a major new literary talent, this irresistible story is a novel of manners for the 21st century. (from the hardcover edition)
Biography Winner: Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes
By Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot
Part personal history, part biography, Dotter of Her Father”s Eyes contrasts two coming-of-age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton.
Social expectations and gender politics, thwarted ambitions and personal tragedy are played out against two contrasting historical backgrounds, poignantly evoked by the atmospheric visual storytelling of award-winning graphic-novel pioneer Bryan Talbot.
Produced through an intense collaboration seldom seen between writers and artists, Dotter of Her Father”s Eyes is smart, funny, and sad – an essential addition to the evolving genre of graphic memoir. (from the hardcover edition)
The Overhaul is Kathleen Jamie’s first collection since the award-winning The Tree House, and it broadens her poetic range considerably. The Overhaul continues Jamie’s lyric enquiry into the aspects of the world our rushing lives elide, and even threaten. Whether she is addressing birds or rivers, or the need to accept loss, or sometimes, the desire to escape our own lives, her work is earthy and rigorous, her language at once elemental and tender. As an essayist, she has frequently queried our human presence in the world with the question ‘How are we to live?’ Here, this is answered more personally than ever. The Overhaul is a mid-life book of repair, restitution, and ultimately hope — of the wisest and most worldly kind. (from the hardcover edition)
Children’s Winner: Maggot Moon
By Sally Gardner
Narrated against the backdrop of a ruthless regime determined to beat its enemies in the race to the moon, “Maggot Moon” is the stunning new novel from award-winning author Sally Gardner. When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland. Utterly original and stunning, it is impossible not to be moved by “Maggot Moon’s” powerful story and the unforgettable heroism of Standish. (from the hardcover edition)
How many of these award winning novels have you read? Which were your favorites?