Overall Costa Winner Announced
26th January 2016
The Costa Book of the Year has been won by The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, making it only the second children's novel ever to win the prize.
Chair of the final judges, James Heneage, called the Victorian murder mystery, the author's seventh novel, "a real page-turner... a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension."
He went on to say: "I think this brilliantly articulates what is in a clever 14-year-old girl's mind, particularly one that has a deep interest in science," and is relevant to teenage girls today, many of whom would say they also feel out of touch with some aspect of their life: Hardinge's heroine feels out of touch with the period in which she lives.
Former bookseller Heneage was joined on the panel by actress, author and entrepreneur Jane Asher; writer, comedian and actress Katy Brand and TV presenter, writer and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis.
In her acceptance speech Hardinge said "It's a fantastic time to be writing children's and YA fiction; it's thoroughly exciting. For those thinking it's not their thing, do have an explore - there's a wonderful jungle out there."
Hardinge beat bookmakers’ favourite, debut author Andrew Michael Hurley, for his first novel The Loney, novelist Kate Atkinson for A God in Ruins, Scottish poet Don Paterson for 40 Sonnets, and historian and writer Andrea Wulf for The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science to win the overall prize and a cheque for £30,000 at the awards ceremony.
Last year's winner, from the Biography category, was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.