Monday, January 07, 2013

Costa Book Awards: winning women fully deserve their prizes

For the first time all five winners of the Costa Book Awards are women. Three cheers, says Sameer Rahim.

Winners: Hilary Mantel, left, and Francesca Segal
Winners: Hilary Mantel, left, and Francesca Segal 
It feels like a watershed moment sure to get people talking: for the first time in its history women have won all five Costa Book Awards. But look a little closer and the winners in each category are hardly controversial.
Few will be surprised that Hilary Mantel’s all-conquering Tudor sequel Bring Up the Bodies – which won the Man Booker Prize and sold 196,340 hardback copies in 2012 – was awarded the best novel award.
Poetry winner Kathleen Jamie is an established nature writer whose collection The Overhaul is considered her finest yet.
Francesca Segal’s Edith Wharton-inspired first novel winner, The Innocents, set in Hampstead Garden Suburb, is both elegant and clever.
The Telegraph’s children’s books editor Lorna Bradbury described the winner of the children’s prize Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon – which is narrated by a boy with dyslexia – as the “outstanding teenage novel of the autumn”. 
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