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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 Orange 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 particular affiliation with the Costa Awards as the Manager of our Charing Cross Road shop, Sion Hamilton, was one of the judges for the 2008 Poetry Award and the 2012 panel included our Divisional Manager, Susan Sinclair. Our Web Editor, Jonathan Ruppin, was on the panel for the 2010 Novel Award; he described the experience as "a bookseller's dream: the chance to recommend fantastic books to the entire nation".

The 2013 category winners were announced on 6th January 2014, seeing second Category wins for both Kate Atkinson and Michael Symmons Roberts. The overall winner, announced on 28th January, was Nathan Filer for The Shock of the Fall.

 


 

Launched in 2012, the inaugural Short Story award, which is voted for by the public, was won by former prison manager and now full-time writer, Avril Joy, with her story ' Millie and Bird'. This year's winner was 'The Keeper of the Jackalopes' by Angela Readman.

2013 Novel Winner

Life After Life
Life After Life (Hardback)
Kate Atkinson
 
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby...
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Life After Life
Life After Life (Paperback)
Kate Atkinson
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an...
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Life After Life
Life After Life (eBook ePub)
Atkinson, Kate
 
WINNER OF THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it...
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2013 First Novel Winner

The Shock of the Fall
Nathan Filer
 
WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2013 'I'll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name's Simon. I...
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The Shock of the Fall
Filer, Nathan
 
WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2013It is recommended readers use the Publisher's Fonts as they are crucial to the storytelling.‘I’ll tell you what happened...
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2013 Biography Winner

The Pike: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Poet,...
Lucy Hughes-Hallett
 
Winner of the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction; the story of Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet, daredevil - and Fascist.
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The Pike: Gabriele d’Annunzio, Poet,...
Hughes-Hallett, Lucy
 
WINNER OF THE 2013 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION AND THE 2013 COSTA BOOK AWARDS BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR.The story of Gabriele D’Annunzio, poet, daredevil – and...
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2013 Poetry Winner

Drysalter
Drysalter (Paperback)
Michael Symmons Roberts
 
Like the medieval psalters echoed in its title, this collection contains both the sacred and profane. This title includes hymns of praise and lamentation, songs of wonder and despair, journeying...
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Drysalter
Drysalter (eBook ePub)
Symmons Roberts, Michael
 
Michael Symmons Roberts' sixth - and most ambitious collection to date - takes its name from the ancient trade in powders, chemicals, salts and dyes, paints and cures....
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2013 Children's Winner

Goth Girl: and the Ghost of a Mouse
Chris Riddell
A deliciously dark new offering from the award-winning author-illustrator of the OTTOLINE books
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2013 Novel Shortlist

Life After Life
Life After Life (Hardback)
Kate Atkinson
 
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby...
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Unexpected Lessons in Love
Bernardine Bishop
 
With the wit of Marina Lewycka, the piercing observation of Jane Gardam, and the bittersweet charm of Mary Wesley, this will appeal to all who loved Major Pettigrew's Last Stand...
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Instructions for a Heatwave
Maggie O'Farrell
 
Maggie O'Farrell has now sold over a million books in the UK through Bookscan. She is consistently a hardback bestseller - THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE sold just...
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All the Birds, Singing
Evie Wyld
 
Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It's just her, her untamed companion, Dog...
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2013 First Novel Shortlist

Idiopathy
Idiopathy (Hardback)
Sam Byers
 
This bitterly humorous debut is a novel of love, narcissism, and ailing cattle.
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Meeting the English
Kate Clanchy
 
It's the searing hot summer of 1989 and revolution is in the air -- though not just for the Prys family ...
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Marriage Material
Sathnam Sanghera
 
A prominent window advert for a discontinued chocolate bar suggests the shop may have closed in 1994. The security shutters are stuck a quarter-open, adding to the general air of...
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2013 Biography Shortlist

Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence &...
Gavin Francis
 
The author fulfilled a lifetime's ambition when he spent fourteen months as the base-camp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. So...
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Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and...
Thomas Harding
 
Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s. Rudolf Hoss was a farmer and soldier who became the Kommandant of...
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The Pike: Gabriele D'Annunzio, Poet,...
Lucy Hughes-Hallett
 
Winner of the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction; the story of Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet, daredevil - and Fascist.
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The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers...
Olivia Laing
 
Why is it that some of the greatest works of literature have been produced by writers in the grip of alcoholism, an addiction that cost them personal happiness and caused...
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2013 Poetry Shortlist

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri; Clive James
 
Renowned critic and poet Clive James presents the crowning achievement of his career: a monumental translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.
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Division Street
Division Street (Paperback)
Helen Mort
 
Named for a street in Sheffield, this title offers a collection that cherishes specificity: the particularity of names; the reflections the world throws back at us; the precise moment of...
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Hill of Doors
Hill of Doors (Paperback)
Robin Robertson
 
A brilliant new collection from the Forward Prize winning poet
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Drysalter
Drysalter (Paperback)
Michael Symmons Roberts
 
Like the medieval psalters echoed in its title, this collection contains both the sacred and profane. This title includes hymns of praise and lamentation, songs of wonder and despair, journeying...
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2013 Children's Shortlist

Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door
Ross Montgomery
 
Alex Jennings is a boy with a problem. His mum's sent him away to boarding school because his father, the most famously failed explorer in the history of the Cusp...
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The Hanged Man Rises
Sarah Naughton
 
A creepy supernatural thriller set in Victorian London, shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Children's Book Award
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Goth Girl: and the Ghost of a Mouse
Chris Riddell
A deliciously dark new offering from the award-winning author-illustrator of the OTTOLINE books
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Rose Under Fire
Rose Under Fire (Paperback)
Elizabeth Wein
 
Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most...
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2012 Previous Winners

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 Alpby 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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