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Costa Book Awards 2017 Shortlists Announced

21st November 2017

Twenty authors aross five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - have today been announced for the Costa Book Awards, the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland.

The 2006 Costa Book of the Year winner Stef Penney is shortlisted in the Novel Award category together with Jon McGregor, Kamila Shamsie and actor and novelist Sarah Winman.

The First Novel Award category includes books by former actor and screenwriter Karl Geary, editor and broadcaster Xan Brooks, Rebecca F  John and Gail Honeyman, whose shortlisted novel is to be adapted for the big screen by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine.

The Poetry Award shortlist features two debut collections by Kayo Chingonyi and wild food forager Richard Osmond, and nominations for Sinéad Morrissey and (posthumously) Helen Dunmore.

Memoirs from heart surgeon Professor Stephen Westaby, Chinese-British writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo and novelist and historian Rebecca Stott - about life inside a Christian fundamentalist separatist cult - feature in the Biography Award alongside Caroline Moorehead's biography of Italian anti-fascist heroes, the Rosselli family.

The all-female Children's Book Award shortlist includes former comedy producer Lissa Evans, Sarah Crossan, Katherine Rundell and award-winning poet and author, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, also a judge for the 2017 Costa Poetry Award.

This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 620 entries. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included BBC presenter and journalist Sophie Raworth, authors Freya North, Piers Torday, Lucy Atkins, Simon Garfield and Kiran Millwood Hargrave; poet Moniza Alvi; and book blogger and vlogger, Simon Savidge.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.  The overall winner of the 2017 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 30th January 2018.

'These shortlists are a showcase of everything the Costa Book Awards celebrate: terrific books with broad appeal that will be enjoyed by readers of all tastes,' said Dominic Paul, Managing Director of Costa.  'The category judges have done a fantastic job in selecting these 20 brilliant, exciting books. My thanks to them, and many congratulations to all of this year’s shortlisted authors.' 

The winner of the Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at the ceremony. The shortlisted three stories for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its sixth year, will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website,, later this month.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won twelve times by a novel, five times by a first novel, six times by a biography, seven times by a collection of poetry and twice by a children’s book.  The 2016 Costa Book of the Year was Days Without End by Sebastian Barry.

To be eligible for the 2017 Costa Book Awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November 2016 and 31 October 2017 and their authors resident in the UK for the previous three years.

The shortlists in full are as follows:


2017 Costa Novel Award shortlist

Jon McGregor for Reservoir 13 (4th Estate)

Stef Penney for Under a Pole Star (Quercus)

Kamila Shamsie for Home Fire (Bloomsbury Circus) Read our exclusive author interview

Sarah Winman for Tin Man (Tinder Press) Read our exclusive author interview


2017 Costa First Novel Award shortlist

Xan Brooks for The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times (Salt)

Karl Geary for Montpelier Parade (Harvill Secker) Read our exclusive author interview

Gail Honeyman for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins) Read our exclusive author interview

Rebecca F. John for The Haunting of Henry Twist (Serpent’s Tail)


2017 Costa Biography Award shortlist

Xiaolu Guo for Once Upon a Time in the East: A Story of Growing Up (Chatto & Windus)

Caroline Moorehead for A Bold and Dangerous Family: The Rossellis and the Fight Against Mussolini (Chatto & Windus)

Rebecca Stott for In The Days of Rain (4th Estate)

Professor Stephen Westaby for Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table (HarperCollins) Read an exclusive blog by the author


2017 Costa Poetry Award shortlist

Kayo Chingonyi for Kumukanda (Chatto & Windus)

Helen Dunmore for Inside the Wave (Bloodaxe Books)

Sinéad Morrissey for On Balance (Carcanet)

Richard Osmond for Useful Verses (Picador)


2017 Costa Children’s Book Award shortlist

Sarah Crossan for Moonrise (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Lissa Evans for Wed Wabbit (David Fickling Books)

Kiran Millwood Hargrave for The Island at the End of Everything (Chicken House)

Katherine Rundell for The Explorer (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)



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