Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Bring Up the Bodies by novelist Hilary Mantel has won the title of 2012 Costa Book of the Year.  The sequel to Mantel's award-winning novel Wolf Hall and the second book of a trilogy, Bring Up the Bodies continues the life of Thomas Cromwell and explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history, the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

The announcement was made this evening (Tuesday 29th January) at an awards ceremony held at Quaglino’s in central London.

Mantel’s win secures her a unique place in literary history: Bring Up the Bodies is the first book to have been both named as Costa Book of the Year and won the Man Booker Prize in the same year. 

The inaugural Costa Short Story Award, judged separately from the main prize, was won by Avril Joy.

Mantel, the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite,  beat debut writer Francesca Segal, for The Innocents, graphic memoirists Mary and Bryan Talbot for Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie for The Overhaul and children’s author Sally Gardner for Maggot Moon, to win the overall prize and a cheque for £30,000 at the awards ceremony.

Following the judging, Dame Jenni Murray, chair of the final judges, said: “Despite a lengthy discussion, there was no doubt which book stood head and shoulders above the rest and there was absolute unanimity about our decision.  Every hand went up for Bring Up the Bodies.”

She continued, “Hilary Mantel writes beautiful, poetic prose, set in its time but also incredibly modern.  It’s a book I’ll go back to again and again.”

Murray chaired a final judging panel that included actress Jenny Agutter, broadcaster Katie Derham, actress and writer Sophie Ward, author and comedian Mark Watson, poet Daljit Nagra and authors Wendy Holden, DJ Taylor and Marcus Sedgwick.

The Costa Book Awards recognise the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.  Originally established by Whitbread PLC in 1971, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s prestigious and popular book prize in 2006.  2012 marks the 41st year of the Book Awards.

Bring Up the Bodies, published by Fourth Estate, is the eleventh novel to take the overall prize. Pure by novelist Andrew Miller was named Costa Book of the Year in 2011.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won eleven times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and once by a children’s book.

Avril Joy wins Inaugural Costa Short Story Award
The Costa Book Awards ceremony also saw the announcement of the first-ever winner of the Costa Short Story Award. Former prison manager and now full-time writer, Avril Joy, won the public vote to win £3,500 for her story, Millie and Bird.  Two runners-up, writer Chioma Okereke and creative writing student Guy Le Jeune, each received £750.

Established this year, the new Award - run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is unique in that it was judged anonymously (ie without the name of the author being known throughout the process).  It 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, and is open to both published and unpublished writers.

A shortlist of six stories was selected by a panel of judges - Richard Beard, Fanny Blake, Victoria Hislop, Gary Kemp and Simon Trewin - and then made available on the Costa Book Awards website for the public to download and vote for their favourite.  Costa Managing Director, Christopher Rogers, announced the winner and runners-up and presented them with their cheques.

For more information please visit

No comments: