The Nation’s Favourite Coffee shop, Costa Coffee, today announces the shortlists for the 2021 Costa Book Awards.
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and uniquely recognises some of the most enjoyable books published in the last year across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book.
2021 marks the 50th year of the Awards. Originally established in 1971, Costa Coffee took over the UK’s most prestigious book prize from Whitbread Plc in 2006.
This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 934 entries, an increase of over 30% on 2020 and the highest number of entries received in one year to date. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included the authors, novelists and writers Jessie Burton, Andrew Wilson and Smriti Halls; novelist, memoirist and filmmaker, Xiaolu Guo; journalists including Sarah Shaffi; poets Rishi Dastidar and Ian Duhig; podcaster Manveen Rana, and booksellers from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, The Book Hive and The Little Ripon Bookshop.
Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Tuesday 4th January 2022. The overall winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 1st February 2022.
Jill McDonald, CEO of Costa Coffee, said: “We are delighted to celebrate these 20 brilliant books as we mark a milestone 50th anniversary year for both Costa Coffee and the Costa Book Awards. My thanks to the judges for putting together such outstanding lists – there’s so much here for readers to explore, enjoy, recommend and share – and my congratulations to all of this year’s shortlisted authors.”
The winner of the Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at February’s ceremony. The three shortlisted stories for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its tenth year, will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website, www.costabookawards.com, on Wednesday 1st December 2021.
To be eligible for the 2021 Costa Book Awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between Saturday 1st November 2020 and Sunday 31st October 2021 and their authors resident in the UK or Ireland for the previous three years.
Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won 13 times by a novel, five times by a first novel, eight times by a biography, eight times by a collection of poetry and twice by a children’s book. The 2020 Costa Book of the Year was The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey.
COSTA BOOK AWARDS 2021 SHORTLISTS
2021 Costa First Novel Award shortlist
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking)
The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore (Granta)
Fault Lines by Emily Itami (Phoenix)
The Stranding by Kate Sawyer (Coronet)
2021 Costa Novel Award shortlist
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree)
The High House by Jessie Greengrass (Swift Press)
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (Viking)
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak (Viking)
2021 Costa Biography Award shortlist
Consumed: A Sister’s Story by Arifa Akbar (Sceptre)
The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War and Everest by Ed Caesar (Viking)
Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston (Viking)
Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi (Allen Lane)
2021 Costa Poetry Award shortlist
All the Names Given by Raymond Antrobus (Picador)
A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi (Chatto & Windus)
Eat or We Both Starve by Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet Press)
The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Bloodaxe Books)
2021 Costa Children’s Award shortlist
Maggie Blue and the Dark World by Anna Goodall (Guppy Books)
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann (Penguin)
The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery (Walker Books)
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter (Scholastic UK)