LONDON, UK – Costa Coffee has announced the judging panels for the 2021 Costa Book Awards, open to writers based in the UK and Ireland. They include the authors, novelists and writers Jessie Burton, Andrew Wilson and Smriti Halls; novelist, memoirist and filmmaker, Xiaolu Guo; journalists including Sarah Shaffi; poets Rishi Dastidar and Ian Duhig; podcaster Manveen Rana and booksellers from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, The Book Hive and The Little Ripon Bookshop.
The full panels are listed below:
Costa First Novel Award
- Dymphna Flynn: Audio Producer and Books Journalist
- Xiaolu Guo: Novelist, Memoirist and Filmmaker
- Joe Hedinger: Bookseller, The Book Hive
- Costa Novel Award
- Jessie Burton: Author
- Charlie Bush: Bookseller, Blackwell’s
- Sarah Shaffi: Journalist
Costa Biography Award
- Jonathan Green: Senior Retail Manager, Waterstones
- Manveen Rana: Host, Stories of Our Times Podcast, the Times and Sunday Times
- Andrew Wilson: Novelist, Biographer and Journalist
- Costa Poetry Award
- Rishi Dastidar: Poet and Copywriter
- Ian Duhig: Poet
- Maya Jaggi: Cultural Journalist and Critic
Costa Children’s Book Award
- Gill Edwards: Owner, The Little Ripon Bookshop
- Smriti Halls: Author
- Lucas Maxwell: School Librarian, Writer and Podcaster
A record-breaking total of 934 books were entered for this year’s Costa Book Awards, an increase of over 30% on last year’s figure and the highest number of entries received in one year to date.
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and uniquely recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year.
2021 marks the 50th year of the Book Awards originally established in 1971 by Whitbread. Costa Coffee took over the UK’s most prestigious book prize in 2006.
Many of the books celebrated by the Awards have gone on to be enjoyed by a huge number of readers. The combined sales of Book of the Year winners since 2009 alone are in excess of 1.8 million.
Recent winners of the Costa Book of the Year include The Mermaid of Black Conch by writer and memoirist Monique Roffey; The Volunteer by former war reporter Jack Fairweather (2019); The Cut Out Girl by Oxford University Professor Bart van Es (2018); Inside the Wave, the tenth and final collection of poetry by the late poet and author Helen Dunmore (2017); Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, the first novelist ever to win the Book of the Year twice (2016); The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (2015); H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (2014); The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (2013); Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012); Pure by Andrew Miller (2011) and Of Mutability by Jo Shapcott (2010).
The judges will select shortlists and winners in their respective categories
and the five Category Award Winners will form the shortlist for the 2021 Costa Book of the Year which will be announced at a ceremony at the end of January / early February 2022.
In 2012, Costa Coffee launched the Costa Short Story Award, a new Award for a single short story, run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system. The award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words by an author aged 18 years or over and written in English.
A panel of five judges will select a shortlist of three entries which will be revealed in December. The public will then be invited to vote online for their favourite story from the three finalists. The two runners-up and winner will be announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony.