Costa Book Awards

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The Costa Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards recognising English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland. They were inaugurated for 1971 publications and known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006 when Costa Coffee, a subsidiary of Whitbread, took over sponsorship.[1][2] The companion Costa Short Story Award was established in 2012.[3]

The awards are given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience. As such, they are a more populist literary prize than the Booker Prize.

In 1989, controversy erupted when the judges first awarded the Best Novel prize to Alexander Stuart's The War Zone, then withdrew the prize prior to the ceremony amid acrimony among the judges, ultimately awarding it to Lindsay Clarke's The Chymical Wedding.


Authors need not be British or Irish but they must have been resident in the UK or Ireland for at least six months in each of the previous three years.[citation needed]

There are five book award categories, without change since the Poetry Award was introduced in 1985, although the children's category has been termed "children's novel" or "children's book of the year".[1][2]

The winning books are selected from shortlists by five distinct panels of judges.[citation needed] Each of the five winning writers receives £5,000.

One of the winning books is then named Costa Book of the Year with a further £25,000 prize. That overall award is determined by a panel comprising five judges from the first round and four new ones.[citation needed]

  • Short story

The short story award was established in 2012 with a prize of £3,500.[3] The winning story is determined by public vote from a shortlist of six that are selected by a panel of judges. The process is "blind" at both stages for the unpublished entries are anonymous until the conclusion.[3][4]

In the inaugural year, the six short story finalists had been published anonymously online by 28 November 2012 and the public vote was underway. The winner was to be announced 29 January 2013.[4]


Bold font and blue ribbon (Blue ribbon) distinguish the overall Costa Book of the Year.[1]


Main article: 2000 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2001 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2002 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2003 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2004 Whitbread Awards


Main article: 2005 Whitbread Awards










The winning short story and two runners-up were selected by a public vote from six nominees that were anonymously published online.[5]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c (CBA-Past-Winners-2015-Version.pdf). Costa Book Awards. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b (CBA-Past-Shortlists-2015-Version.pdf). Costa Book Awards. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Alison Flood (17 July 2012). "Costa's new short story award to be judged anonymously". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Alison Flood (28 November 2012). "Costa short story prize to be decided by public vote". Alison Flood. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Costa Short Story Award". Costa Book Awards. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Former winners recapture Costa prize". BBC News. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 

External links[edit]