Wins for Atkinson and Hughes-Hallett at Costa Awards

Kate Atkinson, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Michael Symmons Roberts, Chris Riddell and Nathan Filer have won prizes at this year's Costa awards.

Atkinson's Life After Life (Doubleday) scooped the Costa Novel Award. The judges described Atkinson's latest novel – which also won the writer UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards in December  - as “astonishing”, saying: “This book does everything you could ask for in a work of fiction and so much more.”

The win gives Atkinson a second opportunity to win the Costa Book of the Year award, following her victory in 1995 with debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum when Whitbread was the prize's sponsor.

Also triumphing this year was Lucy Hughes-Hallett, who won the Costa Biography Award for The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Fourth Estate), her book on poet Gabriel D’Annunzio, who was one of the early precursors of fascism. The biography earlier won the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

Meanwhile the Poetry Award went to Michael Symmons Roberts for his sixth collection Drysalter (Jonathan Cape), already honoured with the 2013 Forward Poetry Prize. Roberts previously won the 2004 Whitbread Poetry Award for his collection Corpus.

Author, illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell won the Costa Children’s Book Award for Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse (Macmillan Children’s Books), called “an instant classic for children of all ages” by the judges.

Writer, lecturer and mental health nurse Nathan Filer won the Costa First Novel Award for The Shock of the Fall (HarperCollins) - the story of Matthew and his descent into madness as he confronts his role in the boyhood death of his older brother.

The category winners for the Costa Book Awards – which recognise the most enjoyable books published in the last year across five categories—were announced this evening (6th January) during a live broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s "Front Row".

Christopher Rogers, m.d. of Costa, said: “Our judges have selected five superb books that readers of all tastes are going to really enjoy. Many congratulations to all of this year’s category award-winning authors. Selecting just one of these terrific titles for the Costa Book of the Year will be a tough task but it will certainly make for an exciting awards ceremony later this month.”

The five Costa Book Award winners will each receive £5,000 and will compete for the 2013 Costa Book of the Year award.

The winner, selected by a panel of judges chaired by Rose Tremain CBE, and comprising authors and category judges John Burnside, Matt Cain, Anne de Courcy, Emma Kennedy and Gerard Woodward joined by Natascha McElhone, Richard Osman and Sharleen Spiteri, will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith in London on 28th January.

The winner of the Costa Short Story Award – voted for by the general public and now in its second year - will also be announced at the awards ceremony. Voting is open until Friday 17th January until which time the identity of the authors remains anonymous.