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Costa Book of the Year

Formerly the Whitbread Book Award, the Costa Book of the Year Award celebrates the best of contemporary writing from the UK and Ireland. The Costa Book Awards are given annually in five categories — Poetry, Biography, Children's Literature, Novel, and First Novel — to authors who have lived in Great Britain or Ireland for at least three years. From these five winners, one book is chosen as the Costa Book of the Year.

The Whitbread Literary Awards were launched in 1971. The name change occurred in 2006, when Whitbread withdrew its sponsorship and the Costa Coffee Company took over.

2006 (Novel)

The Tenderness of Wolves The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

"Confident and complex portrait of 1860s Ontario. . . . Between twists and turns of plot, Penney evokes the land — its shades of light and changes of weather, its marshes and treacherous waters. Rarely has winter seemed so febrile. . . . This one is a powerhouse." Books of Canada (read more)

2005 (Biography)

Matisse the Master Matisse the Master by Hilary Spurling

Publisher Comments
"If my story were ever to be written down truthfully from start to finish, it would amaze everyone," wrote Henri Matisse. It is hard to believe today that Matisse, whose exhibitions draw huge crowds worldwide, was once almost universally reviled and ridiculed. His response was neither to protest nor to retreat; he simply pushed on from one innovation to the next, and left the world to draw its own conclusions. Unfortunately, these were generally false and often damaging. Throughout his life and afterward people fantasized about his models and circulated baseless fabrications about his private life. (read more)

2004 (Novel)

Small Island Small Island by Andrea Levy

Publisher Comments
It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh?s neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn?t know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all. What else can she do? Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. (read more)

2003 (First Novel)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Publisher Comments
Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions. (read more)

2002 (Biography)

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin

Publisher Comments
The seventeenth century saw a revolution in man’s thought, as Isaac Newton and others began the scientific study of the universe around them. At the same time a shrewd young civil servant in London began to observe, with something of the same dispassionate curiosity, the strange object around which, for him, the universe revolved–himself. For ten years, beginning in 1660, Samuel Pepys secretly kept one of the most remarkable records ever made of a human life. (read more)

2001 (Novel) The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials - Book III by Philip Pullman

2000 (Novel) English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

1999 (Poetry) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

1998 (Poetry) Ariel's Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters by Erica Wagner

1997 (Poetry) Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes

1996 (Poetry) The Spirit Level by Seamus Heaney

1995 (Novel) Behind the Scences at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

1994 (Novel) Felicia's Journey by William Trevor

1993 (Novel) Theory of War by Joan Brady

1992 (Novel) Poor Things by Alasdair Gray

1991 (Novel) The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam

1990 (Novel) Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley

1989 (Biography) Coleridge Volume 1 Early Visions 1772 1804 by Richard Holmes

1988 (Novel) Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer

1987 (Biography) Under the Eye of the Clock: The Life Story of Christopher Nolan by Christopher Nolan

1986 (Novel) An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

1985 (Novel) Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

1984 (Novel) Kruger's Alp by Christopher Hope

1983 (Novel) Fools of Fortune by William Trevor

1982 (Novel) Young Shoulders by John Wain

1981 (Novel) Silver's City by Maurice Leitch

1980 (Novel) How Far Can You Go by David Lodge

1979 (Novel) The Old Jest by Jennifer Johnston

1978 (Novel) Picture Palace by Paul Theroux

1977 (Novel) Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge

1976 (Novel) The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor

1975 (Novel) Docherty by William McIlvanney

1974 (Novel) The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch

1973 (Novel) The Chip-chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul



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