Books by a brain surgeon, a former Mormon, a chef and an acclaimed artist are among those shortlisted for the 2014 Costa Book Awards.
The awards honour books published in the last year in five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. This year the awards received 640 entries, a record number.
Shortlisted for the Novel Award, judged by author Elizabeth Buchan, writer Bernardine Evaristo and Foyles’ head of buying Jasper Sutcliffe, are Neel Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus) and Ali Smith’s How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton), which were both shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize; Monique Roffey for House of Ashes (Simon and Schuster); and Colm Tóibín for Nora Webster (Viking).
The Costa First Novel Award shortlist features former Mormon Carys Bray for A Song for Issy Bradley (Hutchinson); Mary Costello for Academy Street (Canongate); Emma Healey for Elizabeth is Missing (Viking); and former chef Simon Wroe for Chop Chop (Viking).
The award is judged by Joanne Finney, books editor at Good Housekeeping; Joe Haddow, producer at Radio 2 Book Club; and writer Maggie O’Farrell.
Samuel Johnson Prize-winner Helen Macdonald is shortlisted for H is for Hawk (Jonathan Cape) in the Biography Award category, which is judged by Paul Laity, non-fiction books editor at the Guardian, author and freelance journalist Wendy Moore, and Sheila O’Reilly, owner of Dulwich Books. Joining Macdonald on the shortlist are John Campbell for Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life (Jonathan Cape); artist Marion Coutts for The Iceberg: A Memoir (Atlantic Books); brain surgeon Henry Marsh for Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Forward Prize-winner Kei Miller is shortlisted for the Poetry Award for The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet). Also on the Poetry Award shortlist are Colette Bryce for The Whole and Rain-domed Universe (Picador); Jonathan Edwards for My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren); and Lavinia Greenlaw for A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde (Faber & Faber). The award is judged by Anna Dreda, independent bookseller and founder of the Wenlock Poetry Festival; Charlotte Runcie, poet and arts journalist at the Daily Telegraph; and poet and author Owen Sheers.
The Children’s Book Award shortlist is made up of Simon Mason for Running Girl (David Fickling Books/Random House Children’s Publishers); Michael Morpurgo for Listen to the Moon (HarperCollins Children’s Books); Kate Saunders for Five Children on the Western Front (Faber & Faber); and Marcus Sedgwick for The Ghosts of Heaven (Indigo).
The judges for the award are Lorna Bradbury, deputy literary editor at the Daily Telegraph; Jake Hope, freelance reading development and children’s book consultant; and author Jonathan Stroud.
Christopher Rogers, m.d. of Costa, said: “What a fantastic selection of books. If people are looking for recommendations of what books to buy for Christmas this year, then they're all here. This list really demonstrates what a great year it's been for books - I can't wait to sit down and read them.”
Winners in the five categories will be announced on 5th January and will each get £5,000. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2014 will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in London on Tuesday 27th January 2015.
The winner of the Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at the ceremony. The shortlisted six stories for the Costa Short Story Award, now in its third year, will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website, on Tuesday 25th November 2014.