Costa Book Award: Five Category Winners in the UK, One To Win Book of the Year

In News by Porter Anderson

Now in line for the overall Costa Book of the Year award—to be announced January 30—the five Costa category winners include three titles from HarperCollins UK imprints.

Clockwise from upper left, the five 2017 category winners of the Costa Book Awards program are Jon McGregor, Gail Honeyman, Rebeccat Stott, Katherine Rundell, and Helen Dunmore. Images: Costa Book Awards

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Voting for the Costa Short Story Award Open to January 12
Authors Gail Honeyman and Jon McGregor lead prize winners in the Costa Book Awards—the only major UK book prize now open solely to authors who live in the UK or Ireland.

Recognizing books in five categories published in 2017—debut novel, novel, biography, poetry, and children’s literature—the Costa program was originated in 1971 by Whitbread and its sponsorship was taken on in 2006 by Costa, the coffee company. All told, the Costa has been issuing its awards for 46 years.

The new round of prizes announced Tuesday (January 2) are the 2017 prizes.  And the winners are:

  • First Novel: Gail Honeyman of Glasgow, for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins)
  • Novel: Jon McGregor, who teaches at the University of Nottingham, for Reservoir 13 (4th Estate)
  • Biography: Rebecca Stott, of Norwich, an instructor with the University of East Anglia, for In the Days of Rain (HarperCollins)
  • Poetry: the late Helen Dunmore, who died in June of cancer at age 64, for Inside the Wave (Bloodaxe Books)
  • Children’s Books; Katherine Rundell of London and Oxford, for The Explorer (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Each of the five winners receives £5,000 (US$6,761) and the overall list of entries for 2017 numbered 620 titles.

On January 30, one of these five category winners will be named Costa Book of the Year winner. As that grand prize carries a £30,000 purse (US$40,554), the total prize monies at stake in the Costa program annually is £55,000 (US$74,363).

Over the years, Costa/Whitbread winners have included some of the UK and Ireland’s most powerful talent, among them Andrew Miller, Hilary Mantel, Mark Haddon, Michael Frayn, Philip Pullman, Zadie Smith, Seamus Heaney, Kate Atkinson, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Roald Dahl, Iris Murdoch, and many more.

In a prepared statement, Costa managing director Dominic Paul is quoted, saying, ”

What a fabulous collection of books, all of them terrific reads. The Costa Book Awards has an extraordinary track record for showcasing and celebrating some of the best and most enjoyable books by authors based in the UK and Ireland, and I’m delighted to say that this year is no exception.”

This year’s Costa jury is chaired by the novelist Wendy Holden. Her fellow jurors are Moniza Alvi, Simon Garfield, Freya North, Sophie Raworth, and Piers Torday on these category awards. Additional jurors coming in for the selection of the Book of the Year honor are Laura Bailey, contributing editor at British Vogue; author Fern Britton; and actor Art Malik.

Broadcaster Penny Smith is to make the January 30 announcement at an awards ceremony at central London’s Quaglino’s.

Voting for 2017 Costa Short Story Award Continues

Created in 2012, the Costa Short Story Award is given for a single story and is voted on by the public from a shortlist created by the five judges.

This year’s stories in contention, listed by the program without their authors’ names, are:

  • “When the Bell Tolls” (narrated in the audio edition by Sam Dale)
  • “Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns” (narrated in the audio edition by Adelaide Obeng)
  • “The Dying Time” (narrated in the audio edition by David Monteath)

Readers who want to participate are downloading copies of the three stories in text and/or audio and then voting on this page.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.