LONDON – Bestselling author, Robert Harris, will chair the final judging panel which selects the overall winner of the prestigious 2014 Costa Book of the Year, it was announced today.
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, uniquely, recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year.
Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s most prestigious book prize in 2006. 2014 marks the 43rd year of the Book Awards.
The final nine-member panel that selects the overall Costa Book of the Year is made up of a Chairman, a judge from each category panel and three other well-known people in the public eye – and who are outside of the publishing world – who love reading and whose opinions the public would respect.
Robert Harris will chair the panel this year which includes Game of Thrones and Avengers actress, Dame Diana Rigg, BBC Economics Editor, Robert Peston, and Downton Abbey actress, Samantha Bond.
The five category judging panels are represented by writers Maggie O’Farrell (First Novel Award), Bernardine Evaristo (Novel), Jonathan Stroud (Children’s Book Award), Owen Sheers (Poetry) and Wendy Moore (Biography).
The final judges will meet on Tuesday 27th January 2015 to select the winner of the Costa Book of the Year, which will be announced at an awards ceremony later that evening.
The ceremony, hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith, will take place at Quaglino’s in central London.
“What a stellar line-up of judges we have this year, all of whom share a passion for excellent writing and a good read,” commented Christopher Rogers, Managing Director at Costa “We’re thrilled to have such a fine panel of well-read people to undertake the task of selecting the Costa Book of the Year in January.”
Former final judges have included Sharleen Spiteri, Alexander Armstrong, Richard Osman, Jenny Agutter, Mark Watson, Hugh Dennis, Elizabeth McGovern, David Morrissey, Rosamund Pike, Gary Kemp, Erin O’Connor, Alex James, Emilia Fox, Marie Helvin, Michael Morpurgo, Hugh Grant, Caroline Quentin, Ralph Fiennes, Jerry Hall, Ian Hislop, Jonathan Ross and Kirsty Young.
Former winners of the Book of the Year include Nathan Filer (2013), Hilary Mantel (2012), Andrew Miller (2011), Jo Shapcott (2010), Christopher Reid (2009), Sebastian Barry (2008), A.L. Kennedy (2007), Stef Penney (2006), Hilary Spurling (2005), Andrea Levy (2004), Mark Haddon (2003), Kate Atkinson (1995), Philip Pullman, Seamus Heaney and the late Ted Hughes.
Each of the five category award-winning authors receives £5,000 and the author of the overall Costa Book of the Year will be presented with a cheque for £30,000. This is the 43rd year of the prize. The winner of the Costa Short Story Award – now in its third year and voted for by the general public – will also be announced at the awards ceremony.
For more information on this year’s Costa Book Awards, go to www.costa.co.uk/costa-book-awards.