Costa Book of the Year 2018

Costa book awards banner. It features a Costa coffee cup on top of a book, with the text, Costa book awards underneath.

The Costa Book Awards for 2018 drew a record 641 entries across the program’s five categories. The awards were first introduced in 1971 as the Whitbread book awards, this was up until 2006 when Costa coffee took over the sponsorship. In 2012 Costa introduced the short story award. Unlike the Costa Book Awards, The Costa Short Story Award is judged as a single category, the winner being decided by the public, the winner will also be announced on the night of the awards.

The Costa awards are unique, as unlike other book awards, they are only open to authors that live within the UK and Ireland, and celebrate the most enjoyable books of the year. 2019 sees the 47th ceremony take place in London on the 29th January where the Costa book of the year winner will be announced. In order for authors to be shortlisted, they must be entered for consideration by their publisher. All five short-list winners received a prize of £5,000. With the Costa book of the year winner receiving £30,000.

There are five categories in total for the Costa Book of the Year award; First Novel Award, Novel Award, Biography Award, Poetry Award and the Children’s Book Award. The sixth category for the Short Story Award is chosen by the public.

The 5 category winners of the Costa Book Awards 2019 stacked on top of each other.

The Cut Out Girl

Bart van Es has won the Costa Book Of The Year Award, 2018 for his “incredibly important” account of family bonds and Holocaust trauma, The Cut Out Girl.

The Dutch author, who is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, was joined on stage by the subject of his unique biography, Lientje. The book describes how this eight-year old Jewish girl escaped persecution in Nazi-occupied Holland.

She survived the the Holocaust, but 100,000 Jewish people, from a total of 140,000, who lived in The Netherlands, didn’t.

After the war, she spent time in Van Es’ grandparents’ house, before being “cut out” of that family too. Bart’s book finally discovers the story behind the mystery of what happened.

Here are the shortlisted entries from each category along with the category winner:

Costa First Novel Award 2018:

    Category winner:

  • Cover of the book, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

    The Rules of BlackheathEvelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. Understood? Then let's begin...Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden w...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 32,572 ratings.

  • Other Shortlisted Entries

  • Cover of the book, Pieces of Me.

    Emma did not go to war looking for love, but Adam is unlike any other. Under the secret shadow of trauma, Emma decides to leave Iraq and joins Adam to settle in Colorado. But isolation and fear find her, once again, when Adam is re-deployed. Torn between a deep fear for Adam’s safety and a desire to be back there herself, Emma copes by throwing herself into a new role mentori...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 179 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, An Unremarkable Body: A stunning literary debut with a twist.

    ***Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2018***EVERY MOTHER IS A WOMAN WITH A PAST'An intriguing tale of love and loss . . . written with verve and delivers an amazing twist' Sunday Mirror'A haunting debut about grief, loss and motherhood' The Pool'This novel pulls you in and will have you racing to reach the end' Good Housekeeping When Katharine is found dead at the foo...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 558 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, Meet Me at the Museum.

    When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn't expect a reply.When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, neither does he.They're both searching for something - they just don't know it yet.Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn't remember choosing.Slowly ...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 3,638 ratings.

Costa Novel Award 2018:

    Category winner:

  • Cover of the book, Normal People.

    Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years.Sally Rooney's second novel is a deeply political novel, just as it's ...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 25,726 ratings.

  • Other Shortlisted Entries

  • Cover of the book, The Silence of the Girls.

    The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman: Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war's outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy's neighboring kingdoms until Achilles, Greece's greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothe...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 9,266 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, The Italian Teacher.

    Rome, 1955The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party is bright with near-genius, shaded by the socialite patrons of their art. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. Larger than life, muscular in both figure and opinion, he blazes at art criticism and burns half his paintings. He is at the cen...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 4,412 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, From a Low and Quiet Sea.

    Farouk’s country has been torn apart by war.Lampy’s heart has been laid waste by Chloe.John’s past torments him as he nears his end.The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring the...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 2,464 ratings.

Costa Biography Award 2018:

    Category winner:

  • Cover of the book, The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found.

    "An awe-inspiring account of the tragedies and triumphs within the world of the Holocaust's 'hide-away' children, and of the families who sheltered them." --Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones The extraordinary true story of a young Jewish girl in Holland during World War II, who hides from the Nazis in the homes of an underground network of foster families, one of...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 938 ratings.

  • Other Shortlisted Entries

  • Cover of the book, To Throw Away Unopened.

    SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2018'Fierce, direct, unashamed. She masks nothing ... Scythes through the myths, the distortions, the adornments and finds the rich, distinctive stories underneath.' The Sunday Times'A chronicle of outsiderness ... Searingly honest ... A painstaking and painful dissection of familial fallout.' The ObserverWhat was I fighting for...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 733 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, The Salt Path.

    Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

    They have almost no money for food or shelter and must...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 1,878 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobiography.

    Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Benjamin's poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations and on the dance f...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 177 ratings.

Costa Poetry award 2018:

    Category winner:

  • Cover of the book, Assurances.

    **SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST COLLECTION**A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, Assurances begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction.Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Morgan ...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 21 ratings.

  • Other Shortlisted Entries

  • Cover of the book, Us.

    From the beginning, the poet was a wanderer, a storyteller, an imaginer of bridges between worlds. Zaffar Kunial is just such a poet and guide for us today. Yet his territory extends much further afield than those of the past - through Kashmir, where his father was born and now lives, to the Midlands of his mother's birth, and further north to ancestors in Orkney, as well as th...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 39 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, Soho.

    In this intimate and vital debut, Richard Scott creates an uncompromising portrait of love and gay shame. Examining how trauma becomes a part of the language we use, Scott takes us back to our roots: childhood incidents, the violence our scars betray, forgotten forebears and histories. The hungers of sexual encounters are underscored by the risks that threaten when we give ours...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 172 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, Three Poems.

    Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2018One of Bustle's 12 Most Anticipated Poetry Collections for 2018Hannah Sullivan’s debut collection is a revelation – three long poems of fresh ambition, intensity, and substance. Though each poem stands apart, their inventive and looping encounters make for a compelling unity. "You, Very Young in New York" captures a great American city, in...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 143 ratings.

Costa Children’s Book Award 2018:

    Category winner:

  • Cover of the book, The Skylarks' War.

    Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September - boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer. When Rupert goes off to fight ...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 672 ratings.

  • Other Shortlisted Entries

  • Cover of the book, The Colour of the Sun.

    A darkly twisted detective ghost tale, from the winner of the Guardian Children's Book Prize.Davie travels his small town in search of a supposed murderer. But the landscape soon starts to blur into something dark and twisted.He must make sense of the landscape, if he has any chance of finding answers. The people he encounters on his travels don't seem entirely real either. The...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 177 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, Bone Talk.

    ‘A wonderful novel... will stay with me for a long time.’ Elizabeth LairdMore than a hundred years ago, a boy named Samkad thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows the mountains he lives in. He knows his people. He knows his blood enemy, the Mangili. And he wants to become a man, to be given his own shield, spear and axe to fight with. His best friend, Luki, wan...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 76 ratings.

  • Cover of the book, Orphan Monster Spy.

    A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous ...(Read More)

    ★★★★★
    ★★★★★

    based on 2,098 ratings.

Costa Short Story Award 2018:

There were three finalists chosen to be shortlisted for the Costa short story award:

Congratulations to Caroline Ward Vine for winning the 2018 Costa Short Story Award. You can read it in full at Breathing Water

  1. Caroline Ward Vine — Breathing Water

  2. Sophie Wellstood — Scrimshaw

  3. Amanda Huggins — Red

Past Winners of the Costa Book Awards

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