The Costa Book Awards shortlists for 2010 were announced last night. The awards are split into five categories: Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry, and Children’s Book:
2010 Costa Novel Award shortlist
- Whatever you love by Louise Doughty (Faber & Faber)
- The blasphemer by Nigel Farndale (Doubleday)
- The hand that first held mine by Maggie O’Farrell (Headline Review)
- Skippy dies by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton)
2010 Costa First Novel Award shortlist
- Witness the night by Kishwar Desai (Beautiful Books)
- Coconut unlimited by Nikesh Shukla (Quartet Books)
- The temple-goers by Aatish Taseer (Viking)
- Not quite white by Simon Thirsk (Gomer Press)
2010 Costa Biography Award shortlist [they judges were unable to find four books good enough out of the 97 submitted for this category]
- How to live: a life of Montaigne in one question and 20 attempts at an answer by Sarah Bakewell (Chatto & Windus)
- My father’s fortune by Michael Frayn (Faber & Faber)
- The hare with amber eyes by Edmund de Waal (Chatto & Windus)
2010 Costa Poetry Award shortlist
- Standard midland by Roy Fisher (Bloodaxe Books)
- The wrecking light by Robin Robertson (Picador)
- Of mutability by Jo Shapcott (Faber and Faber)
- New light for the old dark by Sam Willetts (Cape Poetry)
2010 Costa Children’s Book Award shortlist
- Flyaway by Lucy Christopher (The Chicken House)
- Annexed by Sharon Dogar (Andersen Press)
- Bartimaeus: the ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (Doubleday Children’s Books)
- Out of shadows by Jason Wallace (Andersen Press)
The prize is open to books written by writers resident in the UK and Ireland between November last year to October this year. Books must be submitted by publishers. Apparently, some books were said to be ‘too cerebral to recommend to the masses’ — for instance, The Finkler question by Howard Jacobson (which recently won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction) and The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.
The winners of each category will be announced on Wednesday 5 January 2011. One book will be judged as an overall winner, the Costa Book of the Year, on Tuesday 25 January 2011. Last year’s winner was a poetry collection: A scattering by Christopher Reid.
[From the Costa website:] Recent winners of the awards include The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon, Behind the scenes at the museum by Kate Atkinson, The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman, Beowulf by Seamus Heaney, Birthday letters by Ted Hughes, Small island by Andrea Levy, biographies of Pepys and Matisse by Claire Tomalin and Hilary Spurling respectively and, most recently, Stef Penney’s first novel – The tenderness of wolves, A L Kennedy’s Day, and Sebastian Barry’s The secret scripture.
The library holds most of the above titles and will, as in previous years, acquire a selection of this year’s shortlisted books.
Independent: Costa judge laments a weak year for fiction.