IT is one of the most prestigious awards on the literary calendar as the only major book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland.
Now two Scottish authors have been named as winners in the 2015 Costa Book Awards.
Kate Atkinson has scooped the coveted Costa Novel Award for the second time in three years for her latest work ‘A God in Ruins’ - making her the first author in the prize’s history to win three category awards.
Meanwhile, poet, writer and musician Don Paterson OBE, who was born in Dundee and now lives in Edinburgh, was handed the Costa Poetry Award for his latest collection, ‘40 Sonnets’ - 12 years after he first won the accolade.
Other winners included former teacher and librarian, Andrew Michael Hurley, who won the First Novel Award with his debut, The Loney, a slow-burn gothic horror story the judges called ‘as close to the perfect first novel as you can get’; while historian and writer Andrea Wulf triumphed in the Biography Award category for ‘The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science’.
The final category winner was Young Adult fiction and children’s writer Frances Hardinge, who scooped the Children’s Book Award with Victorian melodrama The Lie Tree.
Mr Paterson said: “I’m surprised and delighted; I definitely wasn’t expecting to win again, certainly not given the strength of the other books on the shortlist.”
The five authors, each of whom will receive £5,000, were selected from 638 entries. The winning books are now all eligible for the title of 2015 Costa Book of the Year, which will be announced later this month.
If the prize is won by Dundee University graduate Atkinson, she would become the first novelist to ever receive the accolade twice, having already scooped the title in 1995 for her first book, ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’.
Ms Atkinson said: “A God In Ruins is possibly the best novel I’ve written so it absolutely wonderful to have it validated in this way. I’m delighted that It has been chosen as Costa Novel of the year, after Life After Life was similarly recognised.”
Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, the top prize has been won eleven times by a novel, five times by a first novel, six times by a biography, seven times by a collection of poetry and once by a children’s book.
“The Costa Book Awards have an extraordinary track record of recognising and celebrating some of the best and most enjoyable British books,” said Christopher Rogers, managing director of Costa, “so it’s fantastic to be announcing another stellar collection of award winners which we know people will absolutely love reading.”
The winner of the Costa Book of the Year award, selected by a panel of judges chaired by James Heneage, will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith in London on Tuesday, 26 January.