Westcountry writers' work recognised
The Costa Book Awards encourage, promote and celebrate the best of contemporary British writing by acknowledging some of the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.
The WMN has teamed up with Costa, to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a complete set of the shortlisted books for the 2012 Costa Book Awards
The awards are unique in that they use a category system with five sections: first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children's book. The winner of the overall award will be named on January 29 and one of the forerunners is Hilary Mantel, who lives in Budleigh Salterton, East Devon, for her Tudor novel Bring Up The Bodies, follow-up to the hugely successful Wolf Hall.
Perhaps a good omen is that last year's overall winner also comes from the Westcountry – Somerset author Andrew Miller for Pure, which also had a historical theme.
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The other shortlisted books in the novel category were Life! Death! Prizes!, Stephen May's darkly funny portrayal of two brothers after their mother dies; The Heart Broke In by James Meek and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart – both about troubled family relationships.
Shortlisted in the first novel category were Snake Ropes by Jess Richards, who studied at Dartington College of Arts; The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder by J W Ironmonger and The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood. Winner in this category is Francesca Segal's The Innocents.
The Costa Biography Award contenders were Patrick Leigh-Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper; Selina Guinness's The Crocodile by the Door: The story of a house, a farm and a family; Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard, and the winner – Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot, the book championed by Ron Johns, see story left.
Kathleen Jamie's poetry collection The Overhaul won that category in a category which had strong representation from the Westcountry – Bee Journal, the first collection of poetry by Somerset-based Sean Borodale; The World's Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus, who also lives in Somerset and is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Exeter, and Dorset-based Selima Hill for People Who Like Meatballs.
Finally, the Children's Book Award went to Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. The winner of our competition will also receive The Seeing by Diana Hendry, What's Up With Judy Barton? by Hayley Long and A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton.
Our winner, and two runners up, will receive a £20 Costa coffee gift card.