Costa Book Awards 2021
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Costa Book Awards 2021

November 08, 2021 // // Key Dates for Your Diary:

  • Category shortlists announced: Tuesday 23rd November 2021
  • Category Award Winners announced: Tuesday 4th January 2022
  • Costa Book of the Year: Tuesday 1st February 2022

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

Key Dates

The category shortlists – four books are shortlisted in each of the five Award categories - will be announced on Tuesday 23rd November, followed by the five category award winning books on Tuesday 4th January.

The overall winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 1st February 2022.

2021 marks the 50th year of the Book Awards originally established in 1971 by Whitbread. Costa Coffee took over the UK’s most prestigious book prize in 2006.

Recent winners of the Costa Book of the Year include The Mermaid of Black Conch by writer and memoirist Monique Roffey (2020); The Volunteer by former war reporter Jack Fairweather (2019); The Cut Out Girl by Oxford University Professor Bart van Es (2018); Inside the Wave, the tenth and final collection of poetry by the late poet and author Helen Dunmore (2017); Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, the first novelist ever to win the Book of the Year twice (2016); The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (2015); H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (2014); The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (2013); Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012); Pure by Andrew Miller (2011) and Of Mutability by Jo Shapcott (2010).

Many of the books celebrated by the Awards have gone on to be enjoyed by a huge number of readers. The combined sales of Book of the Year winners since 2009 alone are in excess of 1.8 million.

The 15 category judges for the 2021 Awards are:

Costa First Novel Award: This year’s three category judges are audio producer and books journalist Dymphna Flynn, novelist, memoirist and filmmaker, Xiaolu Guo and bookseller at The Book Hive in Norwich, Joe Hedinger.

Costa Novel Award: This year’s Novel Award panel includes author Jessie Burton, Blackwell’s bookseller Charlie Bush and journalist Sarah Shaffi.

Costa Biography Award: This year’s judges are Senior Retail Manager for Waterstones, Jonathan Green, host of Stories of Our Times Podcast for the Times & Sunday Times, Manveen Rana and novelist, biographer and journalist, Andrew Wilson.

Costa Poetry Award: This year’s three category judges are Rishi Dastidar, poet and copywriter, Ian Duhig, poet, and Maya Jaggi, cultural journalist and critic.

Costa Children’s Book Award: This year’s Children’s Book Award panel includes Gill Edwards, owner of The Little Ripon Bookshop, Smriti Halls, author, and school librarian, writer and podcaster Lucas Maxwell.

A final judging panel, who will decide the Costa Book of the Year winner, will be announced in December.

In 2012, Costa Coffee launched the Costa Short Story Award, a new Award for a single short story, run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system. The award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English.

A panel of five judges will select a shortlist of three entries which will be revealed in December. The public will then be invited to vote online for their favourite story from the three finalists. The two runners-up and winner will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony. Previous winners and runners up of the Award include Luan Goldie (2017 winner), Jess Kidd (2016 winner) and Kit de Waal (2013 runner-up).

About the Costa Book Awards:

  • The Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, were established in 1971 to encourage, promote and celebrate some of the most enjoyable and best books published each year.
  • The total prize fund for the Costa Book Awards – including the Costa Short Story Award - stands at £60,000. 
  • The award winners from the five categories - Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - each receive £5,000.
  • The overall Costa Book of the Year is selected from the five category Award winners with the winner receiving a further £30,000.  
  • The 2020 Costa Book of the Year was The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree Press).
  • 2021 marks the 50th year of the Costa Book Awards
  • The selection of an overall Book of the Year was introduced in 1985. Prior to 1985, the Whitbread Literary Awards, as they were then known, recognised a number of books across a variety of categories.

SOURCE Costa Coffee



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