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Animators Survival Kit

The Costa Book Awards

 

Costa Book AwardsThe Costa Book Awards have been running since 1971, although they were known as the Whitbread Awards until 2005. Their aim is to reward books which are both of the highest literary merit but that also appeal to as wide an audience as possible. They are open to authors who have been resident in the UK or Ireland for six months in each of the previous three years.

The Awards have changed format a number of times but are currently in two stages. Five separate judging panels decide shortlists (usually of four books) and winners for the five categories - Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's. At various times throughout the Awards' history, the exact categories have varied and there were two periods during which the Children's Award was entirely separate.

One judge from each panel plus four new judges then select the overall Costa Book of the Year from the five winners. Category winners receive £5000 and the overall winner £25,000.

The Awards are generally considered to be one of the British book world's 'big three', along with the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize. Then only overall Costa winner to take home one of the other two awards for the same book is Andrea Levy's Small Island, which also won the Orange Prize, although DBC Pierre's Booker-winning Vernon God Little did take the First Novel Award. Poets Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney are the only authors to have won the overall Award twice, as part of an unprecedented four-year run of victories between them from 1996. Geraldine McCaughrean has won the Children's Award on three occasions. In 2012, Hilary Mantel became the first author win both the Costa Novel Award and the Man Booker Prize in the same year (going on to become the first author to win both the Man Booker and Costa overall prize).

Foyles has a close affiliation with the Costa Book Awards, with our Retail Operations Director, Sion Hamilton, on the panel for the 2008 Poetry Award and our then Divisional Manager, Susan Sinclair, following him in 2012. Our former Web Editor, Jonathan Ruppin, was on the Novel Award panel in 2010, followed by our Head of Buying, Jasper Sutcliffe, in 2014. Our Children's Buyer, Joanne Cocadiz, was on the Children's panel in 2013. Our Marketing Manager, Simon Heafield, joined the 2015 judges in the Biography category.

The 2015 overall Costa Book of the Year was Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree, making it only the second children's novel ever to win the prize.

The 2016 shortlists were announced on 22nd November, the category winners will be announced on 3rd January and the overall Book of the Year on 31st January.

 

 

2016 Novel shortlist

This Must be the Place
(Hardback)
Maggie O'Farrell
 
An addictive and unforgettable novel of a marriage in freefall from bestselling, Costa-Novel-Award winning author Maggie O'Farrell
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£18.99
 
The Gustav Sonata
(Hardback)
Rose Tremain
 
Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in 'neutral' Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav's father has mysteriously died, and...
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£16.99
 
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The Essex Serpent
(Hardback)
Sarah Perry
Strange News Out of Essex...'One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade' - Sunday Times 'The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great...
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£14.99
 
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Days Without End
(Hardback)
Sebastian Barry
 
After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately...
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2016 First Novel shortlist

The Good Guy
(Hardback)
Susan Beale
 
A brilliant first novel about love, marriage and self-deception
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My Name is Leon
(Hardback)
Kit de Waal
 
Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like...
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The Words in My Hand
(Hardback)
Guinevere Glasfurd
 
A young servant girl desperate to learn. An ambitious philosopher in search of the truth. A story lost from history. Set against the backdrop of the Scientific Revolution, a time...
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Golden Hill
(Paperback)
Francis Spufford
 
New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island. 1746. One rainy evening, a charming young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting...
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2016 Biography shortlist

Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted...
(Hardback)
Keggie Carew
 
The author grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father. As his memory begins to fail, she embarks on a quest to unravel his story. In this title...
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Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
(Hardback)
John Guy
 
In 1583 Elizabeth is fifty years old, past childbearing, but her greatest challenges are still to come: the Spanish Armada; the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots; relentless plotting among...
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£25.00
 
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The Return: Fathers, Sons and the ...
(Hardback)
Hisham Matar
 
A memoir of a son's search for his father and the return to a homeland he never thought he'd see again. This is a personal tale of loss. It deals...
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I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's ...
(Hardback)
Sylvia Patterson
 
The hilarious, frank and fearless memoir of Sylvia Patterson - one of Britain's best and most influential music writers. I'm Not With the Band is shortlisted for the Costa Biography...
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2016 Poetry shortlist

Sunshine
(Paperback)
Melissa Lee-Houghton
 
Sunshine is the new collection from Next Generation Poet Melissa Lee-Houghton. A writer of startling confession, her poems inhabit the lonely hotel rooms, psych wards and deserted lanes of austerity...
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£9.99
 

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Falling Awake
(Paperback)
Alice Oswald
 
Shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Award and 2016 T S Eliot Award, this book features poems that are engaged with the natural world.
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Say Something Back
(Paperback)
Denise Riley
 
Say Something Back will allow readers to see just why the name of Denise Riley has been held in such high regard by her fellow poets for so long. The...
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Let Them Eat Chaos
(Paperback)
Kate Tempest
 
Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest's new long poem written for live performance and heard on the album release of the same name, is both a powerful sermon and a...
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2016 Children's shortlist

The Bombs That Brought Us Together
(Hardback)
Brian Conaghan
 
Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no...
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Orangeboy
(Paperback)
Patrice Lawrence
 
A young man has an impossible choice to make, in this powerful urban story that will challenge preconceptions and melt the hardest heart.
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£7.99
 

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The Monstrous Child
(Hardback)
Francesca Simon
 
Features Hel, an ordinary teenager - and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? But Hel tries to make the best of it, creating gleaming halls in her...
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Time Travelling with a Hamster
(Paperback)
Ross Welford
 
For readers who loved Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this extraordinary debut will make you laugh and cry...
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Previous Winners

2015

OVERALL: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

NOVEL: A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

FIRST NOVEL: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

POETRY: 40 Sonnets by Don Paterson

CHILDRENS: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

BIOGRAPHY: The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science by Andrea Wulf

 

2014

OVERALL: H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

NOVEL: How to Be Both by Ali Smith

FIRST NOVEL: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

POETRY: Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders

BIOGRAPHY: H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

CHILDRENS: My Family and Other Superheroes by Jonathan Edwards

 

2013

OVERALL: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

NOVEL: Live After Life by Kate Atkinson

FIRST NOVEL: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

BIOGRAPHY: The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

POETRY: Drysalter by Michael Symmons Roberts

CHILDREN'S: Goth Girl by Chris Riddell

 

2012

OVERALL: Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
NOVEL: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
FIRST NOVEL: The Innocents by Francesca Segal
BIOGRAPHY: Dotter of Her Father's Eyes by Mary & Bryan Talbot
POETRY: The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie
CHILDREN'S: Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

2011

OVERALL: Pure by Andrew Miller
NOVEL: Pure by Andrew Miller
FIRST NOVEL: Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
BIOGRAPHY: Now All Roads Lead to France by Matthew Hollis
POETRY: The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy
CHILDREN'S: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

2010
OVERALL: Of Mutability by Jo Shapcott

NOVEL: The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
FIRST NOVEL: Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai
BIOGRAPHY: The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
POETRY: Of Mutability by Jo Shapcott
CHILDREN'S: Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace

2009
OVERALL: A Scattering by Christopher Reid

NOVEL: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
FIRST NOVEL: Beauty by Raphael Selbourne
BIOGRAPHY: The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo
POETRY: A Scattering by Christopher Reid
CHILDREN'S: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

2008
OVERALL: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

NOVEL: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
FIRST NOVEL: The Outcast by Sadie Jones
BIOGRAPHY: Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill
POETRY: The Broken Word by Adam Foulds
CHILDREN'S: Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

2007
OVERALL: Day by AL Kennedy

NOVEL: Day by AL Kennedy
FIRST NOVEL: What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn
BIOGRAPHY: Young Stalin by Simon Sebag-Montefiore
POETRY: Tilt by Jean Sprackland
CHILDREN'S: The Bower Bird by Ann Kelley

2006
OVERALL: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

NOVEL: Restless by William Boyd
FIRST NOVEL: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
BIOGRAPHY: Keeping Mum by Brian Thompson
POETRY: Letter to Patience by John Haynes
CHILDREN'S: Set in Stone by Linda Newbery

2005
OVERALL: Matisse: The Master by Hilary Spurling

NOVEL: The Accidental by Ali Smith
FIRST NOVEL: The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
BIOGRAPHY: Matisse: The Master by Hilary Spurling
POETRY: Cold Calls by Christopher Logue
CHILDREN'S: The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

 

2004
OVERALL: Small Island by Andrea Levy

NOVEL: Small Island by Andrea Levy
FIRST NOVEL: Eve Green by Susan Fletcher
BIOGRAPHY: My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy
POETRY: Corpus by Michael Simmons Roberts
CHILDREN'S: Not the End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean

 

2003
OVERALL: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

NOVEL: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
FIRST NOVEL: Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
BIOGRAPHY: Orwell: The Life by DJ Taylor
POETRY: Landing Light by Don Paterson
CHILDREN'S: The Fire-Eaters by David Almond

 

2002
OVERALL: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin

NOVEL: Spies by Michael Frayn
FIRST NOVEL: The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
POETRY: The Ice Age by Paul Farley
CHILDREN'S: Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay

2001
OVERALL: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

NOVEL: Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate
FIRST NOVEL: Something Like a House by Sid Smith
BIOGRAPHY: Selkirk's Island by Diana Souhami (currently out of print)
POETRY: Bunny by Selima Hill (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

2000
OVERALL: English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

NOVEL: English Passengers by Matthew Kneale
FIRST NOVEL: White Teeth by Zadie Smith
BIOGRAPHY: Bad Blood by Lorna Sage
POETRY: The Asylum Dance by John Burnside
CHILDREN'S: Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

1999
OVERALL: Beowulf by Seamus Heaney

NOVEL: Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
FIRST NOVEL: White City Blue by Tim Lott
BIOGRAPHY: Berlioz, vol. 2 by David Cairns
POETRY: Beowulf by Seamus Heaney
CHILDREN'S: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

1998
OVERALL: Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes

NOVEL: Leading the Cheers by Justin Cartwright
FIRST NOVEL: The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden
BIOGRAPHY: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman
POETRY: Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
CHILDREN'S:: Skellig by David Almond

1997
OVERALL: Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes

NOVEL: Quarantine by Jim Crace
FIRST NOVEL: The Ventriloquist's Tale by Pauline Melville
BIOGRAPHY: Victor Hugo by Graham Robb
POETRY: Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes
CHILDREN'S : Aquila by Andrew Norriss

1996
OVERALL: The Spirit Level by Seamus Heaney

NOVEL: Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
FIRST NOVEL: The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester
BIOGRAPHY: Thomas Cranmer: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch
POETRY: The Spirit Level by Seamus Heaney
CHILDREN'S: The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine

1995
OVERALL: Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

NOVEL: The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
FIRST NOVEL: Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
BIOGRAPHY: Gladstone by Roy Jenkins
POETRY: Gunpowder by Bernard O'Donoghue
CHILDREN'S: The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo

1994
OVERALL: Felicia's Journey by William Trevor

NOVEL: Felicia's Journey by William Trevor
FIRST NOVEL: The Longest Memory by Fred D'Aguiar
BIOGRAPHY: DH Lawrence: The Married Man by Brenda Maddox (currently out of print)
POETRY: Out of Danger by James Fenton (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: Gold Dust by Geraldine McCaughrean

1993
OVERALL: Theory of War by Joan Brady (currently out of print)

NOVEL: Theory of War by Joan Brady (currently out of print)
FIRST NOVEL: Saving Agnes by Rachel Cusk (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
POETRY: Mean Time by Carol Ann Duffy
CHILDREN'S: Flour Babies by Anne Fine

1992
OVERALL: Swing Hammer Swing! by Jeff Torrington

NOVEL: Poor Things by Alasdair Gray
FIRST NOVEL: Swing Hammer Swing! by Jeff Torrington
BIOGRAPHY: Trollope by Victoria Glendinning
POETRY: The Gaze of the Gorgon by Tony Harrison
CHILDREN'S: The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross

1991
OVERALL: A Life of Picasso, vol.1 by John Richardson

NOVEL: The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam
FIRST NOVEL: Alma Cogan by Gordon Burn
BIOGRAPHY: A Life of Picasso, vol.1 by John Richardson
POETRY: Gorse Fires by Michael Longley
CHILDREN'S: Harvey Angell by Dian Hendry

1990
OVERALL: Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley

NOVEL: Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley
FIRST NOVEL: The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
BIOGRAPHY: AA Milne: His Life by Ann Thwaite
POETRY: Daddy, Daddy by Paul Durcan (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: AK by Peter Dickinson (currently out of print)

1989
OVERALL: Coleridge: Early Visions by Richard Holmes

NOVEL: The Chymical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke
FIRST NOVEL: Gerontious by James Hamilton-Paterson (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: Coleridge: Early Visions by Richard Holmes
POETRY: Shibboleth by Michael Donaghy
CHILDREN'S: Why Weeps the Brogan? by Hugh Scott (currently out of print)

1988
OVERALL: The Comforts of Madness Paul Sayer (currently out of print)

NOVEL: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
FIRST NOVEL: The Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: Tolstoy by AN Wilson
POETRY: The Automatic Porter by Peter Porter (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: Awaiting Developments by Judy Allen (currently out of print)

1987
OVERALL: Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan (currently out of print)

NOVEL: The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
FIRST NOVEL: The Other Garden by Francis Wyndham
BIOGRAPHY: Under the Eye of the Clock by Christopher Nolan (currently out of print)
POETRY: The Haw Lantern by Seamus Heaney
CHILDREN'S: A Little Lower than the Angels by Geraldine McCaughrean

1986
OVERALL: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

NOVEL: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
FIRST NOVEL: Continent by Jim Crace
BIOGRAPHY: Gilbert White by Richard Mabey
POETRY: Stet by Peter Reading (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: The Coal House by Andrew Taylor (currently out of print)

1985
OVERALL: Elegies by Douglas Dunn

NOVEL: Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
FIRST NOVEL: Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
BIOGRAPHY: Hugh Dalton by Ben Pimlott (currently out of print)
POETRY: Elegies by Douglas Dunn
CHILDREN'S: The Nature of the Beast by Janni Howker

1984
NOVEL: Kruger's Alp by Christopher Hope
FIRST NOVEL: A Parish of Rich Women by James Buchan (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: T S Eliot by Peter Ackroyd (currently out of print)
SHORT STORY: Tomorrow Is Our Permanent Address by Diane Rowe (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S NOVEL: The Queen of the Pharisees' Children by Barbara Willard (currently out of print)

1983
NOVEL: Fools of Fortune by William Trevor (currently out of print)
FIRST NOVEL: Flying to Nowhere by John Fuller
BIOGRAPHY: Vita by Victoria Glendinning AND King George V by Kenneth Rose (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S NOVEL: The Witches by Roald Dahl

1982
NOVEL: Young Shoulders by John Wain (currently out of print)
FIRST NOVEL: On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
BIOGRAPHY: Bismarck by Edward Crankshaw (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S NOVEL: The Song of Pentecost by W J Corbett (currently out of print)

1981
NOVEL: Silver's City - Maurice Leitch (currently out of print)
FIRST NOVEL: A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd
BIOGRAPHY: Monty: The Making of a General by Nigel Hamilton (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S NOVEL: The Hollow Land by Jane Gardam (currently out of print)

1980
NOVEL: How Far Can You Go? by David Lodge
BIOGRAPHY: On the Edge of Paradise by A C Benson AND The Diarist by David Newsome (both currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S NOVEL: John Diamond by Leon Garfield (currently out of print)

1979
NOVEL: The Old Jest by Jennifer Johnston (currently out of print)
AUTOBIOGRAPHY: About Time by Penelope Mortimer (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S NOVEL: Tulku by Peter Dickinson (currently out of print)

1978
NOVEL: Picture Palace by Paul Theroux (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: Lloyd George: The People's Champion by John Grigg
CHILDREN'S: The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce

1977
NOVEL: Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge
BIOGRAPHY: Mary Curzon by Nigel Nicolson (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: No End to Yesterday by Shelagh MacDonald

1976
NOVEL: The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor
BIOGRAPHY: Elizabeth Gaskell by Winifred Gerin (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively (currently out of print)

1975
NOVEL: Docherty by William McIlvanney
AUTOBIOGRAPHY: In Our Infancy by Helen Corke
FIRST BOOK: The Improbable Puritan: A Life of Bulstrode Whitlock by Ruth Spalding currently out of print)

1974
NOVEL: The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch
BIOGRAPHY: Poor Dear Brendan by Andrew Boyle (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen by Russell Hoban & Quentin Blake AND The Emperor's Winding Sheet by Jill Paton Walsh (both currently out of print)

1973
NOVEL: The Chip Chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: C B: A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman by John Wilson (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feat by Alan Aldridge & William Plower (currently out of print)

1972
NOVEL: The Bird of Night by Susan Hill
BIOGRAPHY: Trollope by James Pope-Hennessey (currently out of print)
CHILDREN'S: The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden (currently out of print)

1971
NOVEL: The Destiny Waltz by Gerda Charles (currently out of print)
BIOGRAPHY: Henrik Ibsen by Michael Meyer (currently out of print)
POETRY: Mercian Hymns by Geoffrey Hill (currently out of print)

 

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