|Costa Book Award (Whitbread Award)|
|Awarded for||English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland|
|Presented by||Costa Coffee|
The Costa Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards recognising English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland. They were inaugurated for 1971 publications and known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006 when Costa Coffee, then a subsidiary of Whitbread, took over sponsorship. The companion Costa Short Story Award was established in 2012.
The awards are given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience. As such, they are a more populist literary prize than the Booker Prize.
In 1989, controversy erupted when the judges first awarded the Best Novel prize to Alexander Stuart's The War Zone, then withdrew the prize prior to the ceremony amid acrimony among the judges, ultimately awarding it to Lindsay Clarke's The Chymical Wedding.
Authors need not be British or Irish but they must have been resident in the UK or Ireland for at least six months in each of the previous three years.
There are five book award categories, without change since the Poetry Award was introduced in 1985, although the children's category has been termed "children's novel" or "children's book of the year".
- First novel
- Children's book
The winning books are selected from shortlists by five distinct panels of judges. Each of the five winning writers receives £5,000. The prize requires a £5,000 fee from publishers if a book is to be shortlisted.
One of the winning books is then named Costa Book of the Year with a further £30,000 prize. That overall award is determined by a panel comprising five judges from the first round and four new ones.
- Short story
The short story award was established in 2012 with a prize of £3,500 for the first, £1,000 for the second and £500 for the third. The winning story is determined by public vote from a shortlist of six that are selected by a panel of judges. The process is "blind" at both stages for the unpublished entries are anonymous until the conclusion.
In the inaugural year, the six short story finalists had been published anonymously online by 28 November 2012 and the public vote was underway. The winner was to be announced 29 January 2013.
List of award winners
- List of British literary awards
- List of literary awards
- English literature
- British literature
- List of years in literature
- (CBA-Past-Winners-2015-Version.pdf). Costa Book Awards. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- (CBA-Past-Shortlists-2015-Version.pdf) Archived 24 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Costa Book Awards. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- Alison Flood (17 July 2012). "Costa's new short story award to be judged anonymously". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
Danuta Kean. "On eve of Costa awards, experts warn that top books prizes are harming fiction". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
The biggest three prizes, including the Costas, require a £5,000 fee from publishers if a book is shortlisted. This is a contribution towards marketing and should, the organisers claim, be offset by increases in sales.
- Alison Flood (28 November 2012). "Costa short story prize to be decided by public vote". Alison Flood. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "Costa Short Story Award". Costa Book Awards. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
- "Costa Book Awards 2017" (PDF). Costa Book Awards. January 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Costa Book Awards 2018: the category award winners are..." BBC. January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
- Chandler, Mark (28 January 2020). "Costa Book of the Year won by Fairweather's The Volunteer". The Bookseller. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
- Doyle, Martin (6 January 2020). "Costa Book Awards 2019 winners revealed". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 January 2020.