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Costa Book Awards Winners – 2018

Costa First Novel Award Winner

The Seven Death of Evelyn Hardcastle is the début novel of Stuart Turton. The book’s plot surrounds poor Evelyn who is murdered again and again, and Aiden Bishop is always too late to save her. Each day, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest, from the party where Evelyn is first killed, but someone is determined to stop him escaping this daily routine. The only way to break this never-ending cycle is to solve the mystery of her killer.

The author himself is an English and Philosophy graduate who worked in a Darwin Bookshop, taught English in Shanghai, has written technology articles for a magazine and travel articles in Dubai. Now Turton lives in London and works as a freelance journalist.

With such a strong background in writing, it is no surprise that his first novel should receive such high praise, winning Netgalley’s Book of the Year 2018, the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Best Novel and now, the Costa First Novel Award.

What the judges said: “This ingenious, intriguing and highly original mindbender of a murder mystery gripped us all. We were all stunned that this exciting and accomplished novel, planned and plotted perfectly, is a debut. Fresh, enticing and completely unputdownable.”

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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Costa Novel Award Winner

Normal People is the second novel from Dublin writer, Sally Rooney. The book is set in a small rural town in Ireland where classmates, Connell and Marianne, grew up. Their location might be their only common factor but when the two converse in Marianne’s kitchen something life-changing is set in motion. The judges of the Costa Book Awards described this brilliant book as, “A trailblazing novel about modern life and love that will electrify any reader.”
In 2018, Normal People, like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, has received plenty of acknowledgment. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Rooney became the youngest-ever winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year.

What’s more, Rooney is currently writing the screenplay adaptation of Normal People for BBC TV which will be directed by Lenny Arahamson, the Oscar-nominated director of Room, adapted from Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name.

Normal People

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Costa Biography Award Winner

The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es is the award-winning biography about a child called Lien who was looked after by his grandparents. Lien’s harrowing childhood began in The Hague, the last place she saw her parents before being taken away to live with a foster family, hidden far away from the Nazis. Bart van Es has pieced together he side of the story alongside the wider picture from history of the Nazis rounding up Jews in Holland.

The judges described this biography as, “The hidden gem of the year.” Adding that the book is, “Sensational and gripping, and shedding a light on some of the most urgent issues of our time, this was our unanimous winner.”

The Cut Out Girl

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Costa Poetry Award Winner

Assurances by J.O Morgan is a historic war poem which begins in the 1950s, and reflects on the threat of nuclear weapons, the only defence from which was the threat of mutually-assured destruction.

Born in 1978, the son of a former RAF officer, J.O. Morgan’s Assurances is his response to his father’s work and massive responsibility of maintaining Britain’s Airborne Nuclear Deterrent.

The award’s judges explained, “We were all gripped by the polyphonic book-length poem and dazzled by its originality and inventiveness.”


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Costa Children’s Book Award Winner

Last, but not least is the Costa Children’s Book Award Winner, Hilary McKay’s The Skylarks’ described by the judges, “As perfect a novel as you could ever want to read.”

Every year, the Skylarks’, Clarry and her older brother Peter, spend great summers in Cornwall with their grandparents and their cousin Rupert. When September comes, however, it’s back to boarding school for Peter and Rupert and back to dull home life for Clarry. Soon though, the shadow of war falls over the trio and Clarry feels the loss of her Skylark Summers, especially with Rupert away fighting on the front line. A tale of family, love and loss set with the historic backdrop of The Great War (World War One).

The Skylarks’ War

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