Thursday, January 3, 2013

Costa Award Reading Challenge

An ongoing project to read the Costa Prize fiction winners from1971 when the prize (then called the Whitbread) was established to the present. I will be reading all of the fiction and first novel winners and any shortlist nominees that appeal to me. There are no longlists provided for this prize and shortlists contain only four nominees. 

2012 Winners announced Jan.3, 2013:

2012 Costa Novel Award shortlist:

Hilary Mantel - Bring up the Bodies (Winner!)
Stephen May - Life! Death! Prizes!
James Meek - The Heart Broke In
Joff Winterhart - Days of the Bagnold Summer

2012 Costa First Novel Award shortlist

J. W. Ironmonger - The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder
Jess Richards - Snake Ropes
Francesca Segal - The Innocents (Winner!)
Benjamin Wood - The Bellwether Revivals 

Official Costa Award Site

Costa Novel Award 2011

• Pure**** by Andrew Miller (Winner)
• The Sense of an Ending**** by Julian Barnes
• A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside
• My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young     

Costa First Novel Award 2011

• Tiny Sunbirds Far Away****+ by Christie Watson (Winner)
• City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
• The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness
• Pao by Kerry Young

Winners read:

2010 Pure**** by Andrew Miller  
2010 Tiny Sunbirds Far Away****+ by Christie Watson
2010 The Hand That First Held Mine**** by Maggie O'Farrell 
2008 The Secret Scripture***** by Sebastian Barry
2008 The Outcast**** by Sadie Jones
2007 What Was Lost***** by Catherine O'Flynn
2007 Day**** by A L Kennedy
2006 The Tenderness of Wolves****+ by Stef Penney
1985 Hawksmoor***** by Peter Ackroyd (read twice)
1972 The Bird of Night**** by  Susan Hill 

Also read, from the shortlists:

2010 The Sense of an Ending**** by Julian Barnes 
2009 The Elephant Keeper****+by Christpher Nicholson (reviewed)
2009 The Music Room**** by William Fiennes (Biography)
2008 The Other Hand***** by Chris Cleave (Little Bee in US) reviewed
2008 Trauma***** by Patrick McGrath
2008 The Behaviour of Moths**** by Poppy Adams
(The Sister in US)
2007 Death of a Murderer***** by Rupert Thomson  reviewed
1983 Flying to Nowhere**** by John Fuller

On my shelves tbr:

2005 The Silk Factory by Tash Aw
2003 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
2000 White Teeth by Zadie Smith
1978 Picture Palace by Paul Theroux
1974 The Sacred & Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch

Which have you read and can recommend? Comments, requests for brief reviews or links to reviews are always welcome. 

Also working her way through Costa Book Award winners:
Rose City Reader.


  1. Hey there,

    I think you'll like The Curious Incident of the Dog. It's one of my favourite books as it never fails to make me laugh out loud. Yeah, it's a hilarious book for me. :D

    Good luck with this challenge!

  2. Sandra: Have fun with this project! And thank you for giving me your link. I added it to the list on my Costa post.

    Rose City Reader

  3. I read WOLF HALL, which I really enjoyed, and GLASS FEET, which was kind of like AS Byatt lite. I don't know much about the Costa Award so I'm going to watch this challenge with interest!

  4. Ooo, an interesting challenge. I haven't heard of this one or the award, but it has some interesting titles on it. G'luck with completing it!

  5. Thanks for being a new follower.

    I like your blog.

  6. I like the list as it gives me also so much more to choose from to read. My only read on the list was Wolf Hall which I just did not like (but I did finish it). I have read so many positive reviews on Coconut Unlimited.

  7. Sorry you couldn't find my G review. It's in the tag cloud in various places, but that's kind of unwieldy. Time for some updating, I guess. Meanwhile, here's my reaction:

  8. I enjoyed The Life of Pi.

  9. Hi,
    Enjoyed your blog and book selection. You have given me lots of books to think about.
    In line with your enjoying book award winners, I just finished and posted a review of "Country of Origin" by Lee. It won the National Book Award and the Edgar Award. Thought you'd be interested.

  10. Hi Sandra -- thanks for giving me the heads up on the 2012 winners. I updated your post on my Costa post.

  11. what a great award the costa is. I love that PURE beat out SENSE OF AN ENDING- it's such a different kind of novel and I loved seeing it get that kind of recognition. It's one of my favorites this year, too. I love this post and I'm going to bookmark it to help me keep track. Fun!



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