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  • Three previous Costa/Whitbread Award winners feature in the Novel Award category: Maggie O’Farrell, Rose Tremain and Sebastian Barry, whose book The Secret Scripture was named 2008 Costa Book of the Year, together with Sarah Perry for The Essex Serpent
  • The First Novel Award category includes former competitive figure skater, Susan Beale alongside Kit de Waal, Guinevere Glasfurd and Francis Spufford
  • The all-female Poetry Award shortlist includes nominations for rapper, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Alice Oswald and Denise Riley
  • A memoir by former Smash Hits pop journalist and music writer, Sylvia Patterson, features on the Biography Award shortlist alongside books by Hisham Matar, Keggie Carew and the world-leading authority on the Tudors, John Guy
  • Children’s Book Award shortlist includes the author of the bestselling Horrid Henry series, Francesca Simon, as well as Brian Conaghan, Patrice Lawrence and debut children’s writer, Ross Welford

The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, uniquely, recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year.

Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of one of the UK’s most prestigious book prizes in 2006. 2016 marks the 45th year of the Book Awards.

This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 596 entries. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included writers Nicci Gerrard, Andrew O’Hagan, Mary Loudon, Matthew Dennison, poet, author and vlogger Jen Campbell and author-illustrator, Cressida Cowell.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. The overall winner of the 2016 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 31st January 2017.

“I’m certain that readers of all tastes will find something to enjoy in this fantastic selection of books,” commented Dominic Paul, Managing Director of Costa. “My thanks go to the category judges who read so extensively and chose so carefully, and many congratulations to the shortlisted authors. We’re very proud of our heritage and connection with the Book Awards at Costa and we wish them all great success.”

The winner of the Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at the ceremony. The shortlisted three stories for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its fifth year, will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website,, later this month.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it 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 twice by a children’s book. The 2015 Costa Book of the Year was The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge.