London, 19.30pm 30th January 2018: Inside the Wave by the late poet and authorHelen Dunmore has been named winner of the 2017 Costa Book of the Year. The collection, Dunmore’s tenth, explores the borderline between the living and the dead - the underworld and the human living world – and the exquisitely intense being of both, and includes her final poem, ‘Hold out your arms’, written shortly before her death in June 2017, aged 64.
Dunmore is the second writer to take the overall prize posthumously in the Award’s 46-year history. Ted Hughes posthumously won the Poetry Award and Book of the Year in 1998 for Birthday Letters.
The announcement was made this evening (Tuesday 30th January) at an awards ceremony held at Quaglino’s in central London where Dunmore’s son, Patrick Charnley, accepted a cheque for £30,000, from Dominic Paul, Managing Director of Costa.
Wendy Holden, Chair of the final judges, said: “We all felt this is a modern classic; a fantastic collection, life-affirming and uplifting. The poems carry powerful messages that speak to all of us.”
Holden chaired a final judging panel that included Contributing Editor to British Vogue, Laura Bailey; author and presenter, Fern Britton; actor Art Malik; BBC presenter and journalist Sophie Raworth; writers Piers Torday, Freya North and Simon Garfield; and poet Moniza Alvi.
Inside the Wave, published by Bloodaxe Books, is the eighth collection of poetry to take the overall prize. Poetry has a strong record in the Costa Book Awards, often winning the overall prize several times in a row. Most recently, Christopher Reid won in 2009 with A Scattering, followed by Jo Shapcott with Of Mutabilitya year later in 2010. The 2016 Costa Book of the Year was Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, the first novelist ever to win the Book of the Year twice.
Inside the Wave beat the bookmakers’ favourite, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by bestselling debut novelist Gail Honeyman, family memoir, In the Days of Rain by author and academic Rebecca Stott, Reservoir 13 by novelist Jon McGregor and The Explorer by children’s author Katherine Rundell for to win the overall prize and a cheque for £30,000 at the awards ceremony.
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, uniquely, recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - published in the last year.
Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK's most prestigious book prize in 2006. 2017 marks the 46th year of the Book Awards.
Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won twelve times by a novel, five times by a first novel, six times by a biography, eight times by a collection of poetry and twice by a children’s book.
Luan Goldie wins 2017 Costa Short Story Award
Also announced at the ceremony was the winner of the Costa Short Story Award. Primary school teacher and former business journalist, Luan Goldie from Newham in East London, won the public vote and £3,500 for her story, Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns. Two runners-up, civil servant Chris Hunter from Teddington in South-West London and poet and short story writer, Frances Ainslie from Dunblane, Perthshire, received £1,000 and £500 respectively.
Established in 2012, this Award - run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is 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 written in English by an author aged 18 years or over, and is open to both published and unpublished writers.
A shortlist of three stories was selected by a panel of judges – Sarah Franklin, Joe Haddow, Adele Parks, Simon Trewin and Kit de Waal - and then made available on the Costa Book Awards website for the public to download and vote for their favourite. Costa Managing Director, Dominic Paul, announced the winner and runners-up and presented them with their cheques.
For more information please visit www.costabookawards.com.
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For further information, please contact:
Costa Book Awards Press and Publicity
Telephone: 07715 922 180
Notes for Editors:
About the Costa Book Awards:
The Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, were established in 1971 to encourage, promote and celebrate the best contemporary British writing.
The total prize fund for the Costa Book Awards – including the Costa Short Story Award - stands at £60,000.
The award winners from the five categories - Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - each receives £5,000.
The overall Costa Book of the Year is selected from the five category Award winners with the winner receiving a further £30,000.
The 2016 Costa Book of the Year was Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber).