For the first time in the history of the prize, it was women that dominated the top spots for the latest serving of the Costa Book Award. The winners of the 5 categories receive £5,000 each and will also be competing for the Costa Book of the Year award (which gives £30,000 to the winner). The Book of the Year will be announced on the 28th January, with the winner of the inaugural Costa Short Story Award – voted for by the public – also being announced at the ceremony.
And, without further ado, I give you the winners of 2012’s Costa Book Awards …
Costa Novel Award
Winner: Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel
Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel has swept up the book awards this year, with her epic Tudor sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. The novel sold nearly 200,000 copies in hardback in 2012, and saw off the likes of Will Self to grab the coveted Booker Prize. This time, it was up against Stephen May’s Life! Death! Prizes!, James Meek’s The Heart Broke In and Joff Winterhart’s Days of the Bagnold Summer (which gained attention for being a graphic novel and one of the first to ever be nominated for the prize) – all contributions from relatively low-profile authors.
Costa First Novel Award
Winner: The Innocents, Francesca Segal
Inspired by, and modelled on, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, The Innocents is a first time offering from Francesca Segal. Set in a Jewish London community, this debut has been described as astonishing and witty. Runners-up include The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by J W Ironmonger (which has one of my favourite book covers of the year), Snake Ropes by Jess Richards and The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood.
Costa Biography Award
Winner: Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Mary & Bryan Talbot
If Days of the Bagnold Summer attracted attention for being one of the first graphic novels to ever be nominated, it was Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by couple Mary and Bryan Talbot, has broken the rules by being the first ever graphic biography to ever win the Costa Book Award. Pitched against Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard, The Crocodile by the Door: The Story of a House, a Farm and a Family by Selina Guinness and Patrick Leigh-Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper, Dotter is a graphic memoir of two father-daughter relationships, including Mary’s own upbringing as the daughter of a James Joyce scholar.
Costa Poetry Award
Winner: The Overhaul, Kathleen Jamie
Poet Kathleen Jamie is an established nature writer, and a wide favourite, and it’s no surprise that The Overhaul – hailed as her best work yet – has won the 2012 Costa Poetry Award. Other nominees included Bee Journal by Sean Borodale, People Who Like Meatballs by Selima Hill, and The World’s Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus.
Costa Children’s Book Award
Winner: Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner
Lorna Bradley, The Telegraph’s children’s books editor, described the winner of the Children’s Book Award as the “outstanding teenage novel of the autumn”. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner is narrated by a boy with dyslexia, and is set to be one of the biggest Young Adult novels of the year. Gardner beat Diana Hendry’s The Seeing, Hayley Long’s What’s Up with Jody Barton? and Dave Shelton’s A Boy and a Bear in a Boat to win the £5,000 prize.