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Whitbread Prize

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Whitbread Prize

The Costa Book Awards are a series of literary awards given to books by authors based in Great Britain and Ireland. They were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2005, after which Costa Coffee, a subsidiary of Whitbread, took over sponsorship.[1][2]

The awards, launched in 1971, are given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience. As such, they are a more populist literary prize than the Booker Prize.

In 1989, controversy erupted when the judges first awarded the Best Novel prize to Alexander Stuart's The War Zone, then withdrew the prize prior to the ceremony amid acrimony among the judges, ultimately awarding it to Lindsay Clarke's The Chymical Wedding.


Award winners in five books categories are chosen from shortlists by five distinct panels of judges.

  • Best novel
  • Best first novel
  • Children's book
  • Poetry
  • Biography

Each of five book award winners receives £5,000. One of them is then named Costa Book of the Year with a further £25,000 prize. That overall award is determined by a panel comprising five judges from the first round and four new ones. (The new short story prize is £3,500.)[3]

Authors need not be British or Irish but they must have been resident in the UK or Ireland for at least six months in each of the previous three years.

The winning short story will be determined by public vote from a shortlist of six that are selected by a panel of judges. The process is "blind" at both stages for the unpublished entries are anonymous until the conclusion.[4][3]

  • Short story

As of 28 November 2012, the six short story finalists had been published anonymously online and the public vote was underway. The winner will be announced 29 January 2013.[4]


Bold font identifies the overall Costa Book of the Year.[1]


Main article: 2012 Costa Book Awards
  • First Novel Award — Francesca Segal, The Innocents
  • Novel Award — Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies
  • Children's Book Award — Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon
  • Poetry Award — Kathleen Jamie, The Overhaul
  • Biography Award — Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot, Dotter of Her Father's Eyes
  • Short Story Award — Avril Joy, "Millie and Bird"


Main article: 2011 Costa Book Awards
  • First Novel Award — Christie Watson, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
  • Novel Award — Andrew Miller, Pure
  • Children's Book Award — Moira Young, Blood Red Road
  • Poetry Award — Carol Ann Duffy, The Bees
  • Biography Award — Matthew Hollis, Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas


  • First Novel Award — Kishwar Desai, Witness the Night
  • Novel Award — Maggie O'Farrell, The Hand That First Held Mine
  • Children's Book Award — Jason Wallace, Out of Shadows
  • Poetry Award — Jo Shapcott, Of Mutability
  • Biography Award — Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes






Main article: 2005 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2004 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2003 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2002 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2001 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2000 Whitbread Awards

See also


External links

  • Costa Book Awards official web site
  • Injecting Caffeine Into the Whitbread (Now Costa) Book Awards at The Book Standard
  • The Guardian newspaper
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