February 14, 2008 archive

The Costa Book Award Project

I was very excited when Sharon of Ex Libris told me she was going to host The Costa Book Award Project. The goal is to read all of the winners from several categories. I love reading from the award lists, and these perpetual challenges are perfect for me – low key, no stress! I have read almost nothing from the Costa Awards list, and this challenge will stretch me to read poetry and Biographies…a neglected aspect of my reading.

Below are the books I’ve read and what I hope to read in 2008.

Read previous to the challenge:
White Teeth, by Zadie Smith (read in 2001; unrated)

Books I hope to read in 2008:
What Was Lost, by Catherine O’Flynn (First Novel 2007)
The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney (First Novel 2006)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon (Novel Award 2003)
Behind the Scenes at the Museum, by Kate Atkinson (First Novel 1995)
The Queen of the Tambourine, by Jane Gardam (Novel Award 1991)

Below is the complete list of winners. As I read books from the list, I’ll cross them off, and provide date read, rating, and link to review.


  • First Novel Award – What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn
  • Novel Award – Day by A L Kennedy***
  • Biography Award – Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Poetry Award – Tilt by Jean Sprackland
  • Children’s Book Award – The Bower Bird by Ann Kelley


  • First Novel Award – The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney***
  • Novel Award – Restless by William Boyd
  • Biography Award – Keeping Mum by Brian Thompson
  • Poetry Award – Letter to Patience by John Haynes
  • Children’s Book Award – Set in Stone by Linda Newbery


  • First Novel Award – The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
  • Novel Award – The Accidental by Ali Smith
  • Biography Award – Matisse: The Master by Hilary Spurling***
  • Poetry Award – Cold Calls by Christopher Logue
  • Children’s Book Award – The New Policeman by Kate Thompson


  • First Novel Award – Eve Green by Susan Fletcher
  • Novel Award – Small Island by Andrea Levy***
  • Biography Award – My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy
  • Poetry Award – Corpus by Michael Simmons
  • Children’s Book Award – Not the End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean


  • First Novel Award – Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
  • Novel Award – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon***
  • Biography Award – Orwell: The Life by DJ Taylor
  • Poetry Award – Landing Light by Don Paterson
  • Children’s Book Award – The Fire-Eaters by David Almond


  • First Novel Award – The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
  • Novel Award – Spies by Michael Frayn
  • Biography Award – Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin***
  • Poetry Award – The Ice Age by Paul Farley
  • Children’s Book Award – Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay


  • First Novel Award – Something Like a House by Sid Smith
  • Novel Award – Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate
  • Biography Award – Selkirk’s Island by Diana Souhami
  • Poetry Award – Bunny by Selima Hill
  • Children’s Book Award – The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman***


  • First Novel Award – White Teeth by Zadie Smith (read in 2001; not rated; no review)
  • Novel Award – English Passengers by Matthew Kneale***
  • Biography Award – Bad Blood by Lorna Sage
  • Poetry Award – The Asylum Dance by John Burnside
  • Children’s Book Award – Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin


  • First Novel Award – White City Blue by Tim Lott
  • Novel Award – Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
  • Biography Award – Berlioz, Volume 2 by David Cairns
  • Poetry Award – Beowulf by Seamus Heaney***
  • Children’s Book Award – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling


  • First Novel Award – The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden
  • Novel Award – Leading the Cheers by Justin Cartwright
  • Biography Award – Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
  • Poetry Award – Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes***
  • Children’s Book Award – Skellig by David Almond


  • First Novel Award – The Ventriloquist’s Tale by Pauline Melville
  • Novel Award – Quarantine by Jim Crace
  • Biography Award – Victor Hugo by Graham Robb
  • Poetry Award – Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes***
  • Children’s Book Award – Aquila by Andrew Norriss


  • First Novel Award – The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester
  • Novel Award – Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
  • Biography Award – Thomas Cranmer: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch
  • Poetry Award – The Spirit Level by Seamus Heaney***
  • Children’s Book Award – The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine


  • First Novel Award – Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson***
  • Novel Award – The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
  • Biography Award – Gladstone by Roy Jenkins
  • Poetry Award – Gunpowder by Bernard O’Donoghue
  • Children’s Book Award – The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo


  • First Novel Award – The Longest Memory by Fred D’Aguiar
  • Novel Award – Felicia’s Journey by William Trevor***
  • Biography Award – D. H. Lawrence: The Married Man by Brenda Maddox
  • Poetry Award – Out of Danger by James Fenton
  • Children’s Book Award – Gold Dust by Geraldine McCaughrean


  • First Novel Award – Saving Agnes by Rachel Cusk
  • Novel Award – Theory of War by Joan Brady***
  • Biography Award – Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life by Andrew Motion
  • Poetry Award – Mean Time by Carol Ann Duffy
  • Children’s Book Award – Flour Babies by Anne Fine


  • First Novel Award – Swing Hammer Swing! by Jeff Torrington***
  • Novel Award – Poor Things by Alasdair Gray
  • Biography Award – Trollope by Victoria Glendinning
  • Poetry Award – The Gaze of the Gorgon by Tony Harrison
  • Children’s Book Award –The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross


  • First Novel Award – Alma Cogan by Gordon Burn
  • Novel Award – The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam
  • Biography Award – A Life of Picasso by John Richardson***
  • Poetry Award – Gorse Fires by Michael Longley
  • Children’s Book Award – Harvey Angell by Diana Hendry


  • First Novel Award – The Buddha of Suburbia by Nicholas Mosley
  • Novel Award – Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley***
  • Biography Award – A A Milne: His Life by Ann Thwaite
  • Poetry Award – Daddy, Daddy by Paul Durcan
  • Children’s Book Award – AK by Peter Dickinson


  • First Novel Award – Gerontius by James Hamilton-Paterson
  • Novel Award – The Chymical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke
  • Biography Award – Coleridge: Early Visions by Richard Holmes***
  • Poetry Award – Shibboleth by Michael Donaghy
  • Children’s Book Award – Why Weeps the Brogan? by Hugh Scott


  • First Novel Award – The Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer***
  • Novel Award – The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Biography Award – Tolstoy by A N Wilson
  • Poetry Award – The Automatic Oracle by Peter Porter
  • Children’s Book Award – Awaiting Developments by Judy Allen


  • First Novel Award – The Other Garden by Francis Wyndham
  • Novel Award – The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
  • Biography Award – Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan***
  • Poetry Award – The Haw Lantern by Seamus Heany
  • Children’s Book Award – A Little Lower than the Angels by Geraldine McCaughrean


  • First Novel Award – Continent by Jim Crace
  • Novel Award – An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro***
  • Biography Award – Gilbert White by Richard Mabey
  • Poetry Award – Stet by Peter Reading
  • Children’s Book Award – The Coal House by Andrew Taylor


  • First Novel Award – Oranges are not the only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • Novel Award – Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
  • Biography Award – Hugh Dalton by Ben Pimlott
  • Poetry Award – Elegies by Douglas Dunn***
  • Children’s Book Award – The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker

[Note:  The issuance of a Book of the Year award began in 1985.  Between 1971 and 1984, categories shifted and awards were not given in all categories. ]


  • First Novel Award – A Parish of Rich Women by James Buchan
  • Novel Award – Kruger’s Alp by Christopher Hope
  • Biography Award – T S Eliot by Peter Ackroyd
  • Short Story Award – Tomorrow is our Permanent Address by Diane Rowe
  • Children’s Book Award – The Queen of the Pharisees’ Children by Barbara Willard


  • First Novel Award – Flying to Nowhere by John Fuller
  • Novel Award – Fools of Fortune by William Trevor
  • Joint Biography Award – Vita by Victoria Glendining and King George V by Kenneth Rose
  • Children’s Book Award – The Witches by Roald Dahl


  • First Novel Award – On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
  • Novel Award – Young Shoulders by John Wain
  • Biography Award – Bismarck by Edward Crankshaw
  • Children’s Book Award – The Song of Pentecost by W J Corbett


  • First Novel Award – A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd
  • Novel Award – Silver’s City by Maurice Leitch
  • Biography Award – Monty: The Making of a General by Nigel Hamilton
  • Children’s Book Award – The Hollow Land by Jane Gardam


  • Novel Award – How Far Can You Go? by David Lodge
  • Biography Award – On the Edge of Paradise: A C Benson the Diarist by David Newsome
  • Childen’s Book Award – John Diamond by Leon Garfield


  • Novel Award – The Old Jest by Jennifer Johnston
  • Autobiography Award – About Time by Penelope Mortimer
  • Children’s Book Award – Tulku by Peter Dickinson


  • Novel Award – Picture Palace by Paul Theroux
  • Biography Award – Lloyd George: the People’s Champion by John Grigg
  • Children’s Book Award – The Battle of Bubble & Squeak by Philippa Pearce


  • Novel Award – Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge
  • Biography Award – Mary Curzon by Nigel Nicolson
  • Children’s Book Award – No End to Yesterday by Shelagh Macdonald


  • Novel Award – The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor
  • Biography Award – Elizabeth Gaskell by Winifred Gerin
  • Children’s Book Award – A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively


  • Novel Award – Docherty by William McIlvanney
  • Autobiography Award – In Our Infancy by Helen Corke
  • First Book Award – The Improbable Puritan: A Life of Bulstrode Whitelock by Ruth Spalding


  • Novel Award – The Sacred & Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch
  • Biography Award – Poor Dear Brendan by Andrew Boyle
  • Joint Children’s Books – How Tom Beat captain Najork & His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban & Quentin Blake, The Emperor’s Winding Sheet by Jill Paton Walsh
  • First Book Award – The Life & Death of Mary Wollstonecraft by Claire Tomalin


  • Novel Award – The Chip Chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul
  • Biography Award – CB: A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman by John Wilson
  • Children’s Book Award – The Butterfly Ball & The Grasshopper’s Feast by Alan Aldridge & William Plomer


  • Novel Award – The Bird of Night by Susan Hill
  • Biography Award – Trollope by James Pope-Hennessey
  • Children’s Book Award – The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden


  • Novel Award – The Destiny Waltz by Gerda Charles
  • Biography Award – Henrik Ibsen by Michael Meyer
  • Poetry Award – Mercian Hymns by Geoffrey Hill

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