IN THE NEWS: Costa Book Awards 2010

The Costa Book Award shortlist winners have been announced! The overall winner will be selected at the end of January, but for now, here's the info about 2010's category winners...

maggieofarrell.jpgCosta Novel Award 2010 - The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
A gorgeously written story of love and motherhood, this is a tour de force from one of our most acclaimed and best loved novelists. When the bohemian, sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life for herself, with Innes at her side. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. Elina, a painter, struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood, memories that don't tally with his parents' version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.

hareamber.jpgCosta Biography Award 2010 - The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: potter Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in the Tokyo apartment of his great uncle Iggie. Later, when Edmund inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined...The Ephrussis came from Odessa, and at one time were the largest grain exporters in the world; in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi was part of a wealthy new generation settling in Paris. Marcel Proust was briefly his secretary and used Charles as the model for the aesthete Swann in Remembrance of Things Past. Charles' passion was collecting; the netsuke, bought when Japanese objects were all the rage in the salons, were sent as a wedding present to his banker cousin in Vienna. Later, three children - including a young Ignace - would play with the netsuke as history reverberated around them. The Anschluss and Second World War swept the Ephrussis to the brink of oblivion. Almost all that remained of their vast empire was the netsuke collection, smuggled out of the huge Viennese palace (then occupied by Hitler's theorist on the 'Jewish Question'), one piece at a time, in the pocket of a loyal maid - and hidden in a straw mattress. In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal travels the world to stand in the great buildings his forebears once inhabited. He traces the network of a remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. And, in prose as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves, he tells the story of a unique collection which passed from hand to hand - and which, in a twist of fate, found its way home to Japan...

outofshadows.jpgCosta Children's Award 2010 - Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace
'If I stood you in front of a man, pressed a gun into your palm and told you to squeeze the trigger, would you do it?' 'No, sir, no way!' 'What if I then told you we'd gone back in time and his name was Adolf Hitler? Would you do it then?' Zimbabwe, 1980s The war is over, independence has been won and Robert Mugabe has come to power offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. It is the end of the Old Way and the start of a promising new era. For Robert Jacklin, it's all new: new continent, new country, new school. And very quickly he learns that for some of his classmates, the sound of guns is still loud, and their battles rage on ...white boys who want their old country back, not this new black African government. Boys like Ivan. Clever, cunning Ivan. For him, there is still one last battle to fight, and he's taking it right to the very top.

ofmutability.jpgCosta Poetry Award 2010 - Of Mutability by Jo Shapcott
Jo Shapcott's award-winning first three collections, gathered in "Her Book: Poems 1988-1998", revealed her to be a writer of ingenuous, politically acute and provocative poetry, and rightly earned her a reputation as one of the most original and daring voices of her generation. In "Of Mutability", Shapcott is found writing at her most memorable and bold. In a series of poems that explore the nature of change - in the body and the natural world, and in the shifting relationships between people - these poems look freshly but squarely at mortality. By turns grave and playful, arresting and witty, the poems in "Of Mutability" celebrate each waking moment as though it might be the last, and in so doing restore wonder to the to the smallest of encounters.

witnessight.jpgCosta First Novel Award 2010 - Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai
In a small town in the heart of India, a young girl is found tied to a bed inside a townhouse where thirteen people lie dead. The girl is alive, but she has been beaten and abused. She is held in the local prison, awaiting interrogation for the murders she is believed by the local people to have committed. Visiting social worker Simran attempts to break through the girl's mute trance to find out what happened that terrible night. As she uncovers more and more, Simran realises that she is caught in the middle of a terrifying reality, where the unwanted female offspring of families are routinely disposed of. Brilliantly atmospheric, hauntingly real, this is a major debut from an exciting new author.




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