At a ceremony in London last night, Hilary Mantel was awarded the Costa Book of the Year prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies. The sequel to the award-winning Wolf Hall, and the second book of a trilogy, the historical novel continues the life of Thomas Cromwell, scheming advisor to Henry VIII.
Mantel’s win secures her a unique place in literary history: Bring Up the Bodies is the first book to win Costa Book of the Year and the Man Booker Prize in the same year.
The Costa prize has a unique structure - each year's title is contested by a shortlist made up of five books - a novel, first novel, biography, poetry collection and a children's book. Mantel beat debut writer Francesca Segal, memoirists Mary and Bryan Talbot, Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie and children’s author Sally Gardner.
w&h Books Editor Fanny Blake, who also judged this year's inaugural Costa Short Story Award, said, 'It's impossible to have a favourite book when the finalists from the different categories are so disparate. I think Hilary Mantel’s towering achievement of Bring Up the Bodies was a more than worthy winner.'
Also awarded at the Costa Book Awards ceremony was the first ever Costa Short Story Award, won by former prison manager Avril Joy.
Judge Fanny said, 'We chose a shortlist of six and the public voted Millie and the Bird by Avril Joy the winner. A very moving story about a young girl and a zebra finch. The characters are beautifully realised, the tension in the situation is almost unbearable and Joy’s use of language is terrific. Not a word wasted.'
Click through to find out more on each of the shortlisted books...
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