Costa Book Awards 2016 Shortlist

The Costa Book Awards honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.
The 2016 Costa Book Awards shortlists have been announced with three former winners making the shortlist again for this year’s prize. Maggie O’Farrell for This Must Be the Place, Rose Tremain for The Gustav Sonata and Sebastian Barry for Days Without End.

This year sees women dominating the Costa book award shortlists, with Rose Tremain, Sarah Perry and Kate Tempest among 14 female writers of the 20 nominated across the awards’ five categories.

The winners in each of the five categories will receive £5,000 before one overall winner is declared the Costa Book of the Year. The author of the winning book receives a further £25,000 prize money.

The prize has five categories – Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. It is the only book award which places children’s books alongside adult books competing for the winning prize.

The awards are open only to authors living in the UK and Ireland. This year, 596 entries were whittled down to the five, four-book shortlists.

Costa Book Awards 2016 Shortlists


Sebastian Barry for Days Without End (Faber & Faber)
Maggie O’Farrell for This Must Be the Place (Tinder Press)
Sarah Perry for The Essex Serpent (Serpent’s Tail)
Rose Tremain for The Gustav Sonata (Chatto & Windus)

First Novel

Susan Beale for The Good Guy (John Murray)
Kit de Waal for My Name Is Leon (Viking)
Guinevere Glasfurd for The Words in My Hand (Two Roads)
Francis Spufford for Golden Hill (Faber & Faber)


Keggie Carew for Dadland: A Journey Into Uncharted Territory (Chatto & Windus)
John Guy for Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years (Viking)
Hisham Matar for The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between (Viking)
Sylvia Patterson for I’m Not With the Band: A Writer’s Life Lost in Music (Sphere)


Melissa Lee-Houghton for Sunshine (Penned in the Margins)
Alice Oswald for Falling Awake (Jonathan Cape Poetry)
Denise Riley for Say Something Back (Picador)
Kate Tempest for Let Them Eat Chaos (Picador)

Children’s Books

Brian Conaghan for The Bombs That Brought Us Together (Bloomsbury)
Patrice Lawrence for Orangeboy (Hodder Children’s Books)
Francesca Simon for The Monstrous Child (Faber & Faber/Profile Books)
Ross Welford for Time Travelling With a Hamster (HarperCollins Children’s Books)