For the first time ever, a single book has won both the Man Booker and Costa Book of the Year prizes in one year. In a “unanimous” decision, Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall, won the prize – announced on the 29th January.
I think I may be one of the rare few that hasn’t actually read either Wolf Hall or Bring Up the Bodies, despite the accolades poured upon them. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been overrated – there were no qualms from the judges on either prize when handing out the awards, and there are high hopes for Mantel’s literary future. The book beat shortlisted titles Life! Death! Prizes!, The Heart Broke In and Days of the Bagnold Summer to win the £30,000 prize.
Bring Up the Bodies follows Thomas Cromwell as he negotiates the dangerous, tricky and turbulent times of Henry VIII’s court during the end of the King’s marriage to Anne Boleyn and burgeoning romance with Jane Seymour. The series, which still has a third part in the works (The Mirror and the Light), is now set for TV and stage adaptations (The RSC recently announced they had won the rights to stage both novels).
But it wasn’t only Hilary Mantel to bag herself a Costa prize! It was also announced that Avril Joy‘s Millie and Bird won the inaugural Costa Short Story Award. Submissions were anonymous, with the authors only announced once selected for the longlist. Joy, a full-time writer, has previously published a novel (The Sweet Track, Flambard Press). Millie and Bird is the story of two young girls who “find themselves caught in world where love is unpredictable and attachment is dangerous.”
What do you think of the winners?