Thursday 01 June 2023

Costa Coffee announces shortlists for the 2019 Costa Book Awards

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LONDON, UK – Costa Coffee has announced the shortlists for the 2019 Costa Book Awards. The 20 books nominated for this year’s Awards were revealed on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme. The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, 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.

This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 701 entries, the most received in one year to date. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included author Clare Mackintosh, novelist John Boyne and writers Kate Clanchy, Bali Rai and Mahsuda Snaith; historian, author and broadcaster, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb; and poet, critic and songwriter Jade Cuttle.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Monday 6th January 2020. The overall winner of the 2019 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 28th January 2020.

The winner of the Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at the ceremony. The shortlisted three stories for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its eighth year, will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website,, in December.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won twelve times by a novel, five times by a first novel, seven times by a biography, eight times by a collection of poetry and twice by a children’s book. The 2018 Costa Book of the Year was The Cut Out Girl, a story of war and family, lost and found by Oxford Professor Bart van Es.

To be eligible for the 2019 Costa Book Awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019 and their authors resident in the UK for the previous three years.

Full details of the shortlists follow. For additional information, please visit

Costa Book Awards 2019 Shortlists

2019 Costa First Novel Award shortlist

Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston (Picador)

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze)

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking)

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen (The Borough Press)

2019 Costa Novel Award shortlist

Middle England by Jonathan Coe (Viking)

Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach (Head of Zeus)

Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre)

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill Secker)

2019 Costa Biography Award shortlist

On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons by Laura Cumming (Chatto & Windus)

The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather (WH Allen)

In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus)

The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels by Adam Nicolson (William Collins)

2019 Costa Poetry Award shortlist

Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus)

Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber)

The Mizzy by Paul Farley (Picador)

Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough (Penned in the Margins)

2019 Costa Children’s Award shortlist

Asha & the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan (Chicken House)

Crossfire by Malorie Blackman (Penguin Books)

In the Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling (Chicken House)

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)

Shortlist for the 2019 Costa First Novel Award

(114 entries)


Clare Mackintosh Author

Will Smith            Bookseller, Sam Read Bookseller, Grasmere

Mahsuda Snaith  Writer

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