UK based Costa Book Awards, known as the Whitbread Literary Awards until 2006, recently announced its winners in five categories—novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book. 2011 saw debut writers sweeping awards in three out of five categories. While Moira Young won the Children’s Book prize for her first novel Blood Red Road, which is a story of a girl who endeavors to find her kidnapped twin brother in an enigmatic future world, Christie Watson won the award in debut novel category for her book Tiny Sunbirds Far Away—a novel about a girl whose life is thrown into upheaval when her father leaves the family.
Poet and first-time biographer Matthew Hollis bagged the Costa biography award for Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas—a book about the war poet who died during the first World War. As the new authors made to glory, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy picked up the poetry prize with her latest collection The Bees and Andrew Miller seized the honor in the novel category for his sixth novel Pure, beating Julian Barnes whose The Sense of an Ending won the Booker Prize in October.
The winner in each category will receive £5,000, and one of the five winning books will be selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year, receiving an additional £30,000, making a total prize fund of £55,000. The overall winner will be announced on January 24.
In 2010 Costa Book of the Year went to poet Jo Shapcott’s Of Mutability .
Anuja Seith reported for the exchange4media group in New Delhi, where she interviewed government officials as well as national and international media, marketing and advertising personalities. Seith also worked as a reporter for local publications—Tri-City Voice, the Santa Clara Weekly, and was a freelance journalist for New America Media in San Francisco. She is currently working as front page editor for DailySource.org, a non-profit news website. Seith received a Master of Science in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.