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Costa Book Awards (2006-2022)
Whitbread Book Awards (1971-2005)
Subcategory of Awards International Awards
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History

The Whitbread was founded in 1971: authors must have been resident in the United Kingdom or Ireland for over six months of each of the previous three years (although UK or Irish nationality is not essential). Books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November of the previous year and 31 October of the current year. Books previously published elsewhere are not eligible.

It has five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book. For each category there are three judges - generally an author, a bookseller and a journalist. They select a shortlist of four books, which includes the winner. Their criteria is to select well-written, enjoyable books that they would strongly recommend anyone to read. Books must be submitted directly by publishers, not by authors.

After 2006, Costa Coffee, a subsidiary of Whitbread, took over sponsorship of the award, which was renamed the Costa Book Awards.

In 2022, Costa announced that the award would cease after 51 years: the 50th, and final, award was announced in 2021. No reason was initially given for the cessation.

Sources: Whitbread Awards website (http://www.whitbread-bookawards.co.uk/index.htm); Costa Book Awards website (http://www.costabookawards.com/), Books + Publishing (https://www.booksandpublishing.com.au/articles/2022/06/14/215618/costa-announces-end-to-costa-book-awards/).

Notes

  • 'The Whitbread has five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book. For each category there are three judges - generally an author, a bookseller and a journalist. They select a shortlist of four books, which includes the winner. Their criteria is to select well-written, enjoyable books that they would strongly recommend anyone to read. Books must be submitted directly by publishers, not by authors.

    Authors of submitted books must have been resident in the United Kingdom or Ireland for over six months of each of the previous three years (although UK or Irish nationality is not essential). Books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November of the previous year and 31 October of the current year. Books previously published elsewhere are not eligible.'

    (Source: Whitbread Awards website, http://www.whitbread-bookawards.co.uk/index.htm)

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2003

winner (Whitbread First Novel Award) y separately published work icon Vernon God Little : A 21st Century Comedy in the Presence of Death D. B. C. Pierre , London : Faber , 2003 Z1067461 2003 single work novel humour

Year: 2000

winner (Novel) y separately published work icon English Passengers Matthew Kneale , New York (City) : Talese , 2000 Z375635 2000 single work novel historical fiction It is 1857, and Reverend Geoffrey Wilson has departed England to prove the literal truth of the bible. The expedition heads towards Tasmania, where he is convinced he will find the real Garden of Eden. But the other passengers have their own agendas. As the English passengers near Peevay's land, their bizarre notions become painfully at odds with reality. (Source: Trove)

Year: 1988

winner (Whitbread Poetry Award) y separately published work icon The Automatic Oracle Peter Porter , Oxford : Oxford University Press , 1987 Z392597 1987 selected work poetry

Works About this Award

James Misses Out on Award 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 6 January 2010; (p. 4)
The 2009 Costa Poetry Award has been won by British writer Christopher Reid for his book A Scattering.
Glittering Prizes? Jenni Connor , 1990 single work column
— Appears in: Magpies : Talking About Books for Children , September vol. 5 no. 4 1990; (p. 10-12)
Peter's Pence John Murche , 1989 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 21-22 January 1989; (p. 5)
Shelf Life [The Age (Saturday Extra), 11 February 1989] Jane Sullivan , 1989 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 11 February 1989;
Literary London : 19-20 November Michele Field , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 19-20 November 1988; (p. 8)
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