London, 20.30pm 26th January 2016: Children’s book The Lie Tree, a Victorian murder mystery by Young Adult fiction and children’sauthor Frances Hardinge, has been named the 2015 Costa Book of the Year.
The announcement was made this evening (Tuesday 26th January) at an awards ceremony held at Quaglino’s in central London.
The Lie Tree (Macmillan Children’s Books) is only the second children’s book to take the overall prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001.
Hardinge beat bookmakers’ favourite, debut author Andrew Michael Hurley, for his first novel The Loney, novelist Kate Atkinson for A God in Ruins, Scottish poet Don Paterson for 40 Sonnets, and historian and writer Andrea Wulf for The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science to win the overall prize and a cheque for £30,000 at the awards ceremony.
The Lie Tree, the author’s seventh novel,tells the story of Faith Sunderly whose family have shipped out from England to a remote island to escape scandal. When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree that feeds off whispered lies. It will take all Faith's courage to discover the truth behind the curious events on the island of Vane, and what, or who, killed her beloved father.
James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension. It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love.”
Heneage chaired a final judging panel that included comedian, writer and actor Katy Brand, actress and author Jane Asher, broadcaster, writer and actress Janet Ellis, writers Louise Doughty, Matt Haig, Penny Junor, Martyn Bedford and poet and children’s author, Julia Copus.
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. 2015 marks the 44th year of the Book Awards.
Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won eleven times by a novel, six times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and twice by a children’s book.
The 2014 Costa Book of the Year was H is for Hawk by writer Helen Macdonald which has sold over 200,000 copies since its publication.
Daniel Murphy wins 2015 Costa Short Story Award
Also announced at the ceremony was the winner of the Costa Short Story Award. Retired headteacher Daniel Murphy from Stirling won the public vote and £3,500 for his story, Rogey. Two runners-up, writer Erin Soros and writer and part-time gym instructor Annalisa Crawford, received £1,000 and £500 respectively.
Established in 2012, 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 written in English by an author aged 18 years or over, and is open to both published and unpublished writers.
A shortlist of six stories was selected by a panel of judges – Raffaella Barker, Richard Beard, Fanny Blake, Sarah Franklin 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 www.costabookawards.com.
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Founded in London by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971, Costa is the UK’s favourite coffee shop, having been awarded “Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in the UK and Ireland" by Allegra Strategies for six years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & December 2015).
With over 2,000 coffee shops in the UK and more than 1,880 shops in 30 overseas markets, Costa has diversified into both the at-home and gourmet self-serve markets. There are now more than 4,275 Costa Express self-serve machines in the UK.
In the UK Costa employs over 16,000 people and creates around 1,500 jobs each year.
Costa is committed to looking after coffee-growers. That's why we've established The Costa Foundation, a registered charity. The Costa Foundation's aims are to relieve poverty, advance education and the health and environment of coffee-growing communities around the world. So far, The Costa Foundation has funded the building of 46 schools and improved the social and economic welfare of coffee-growing communities.