Writer and broadcaster Kate Humble and novelist Rachel Joyce will join the final judging panel which selects the overall winner of the 2018 Costa Book of the Year.
BBC presenter and journalist Sophie Raworth will chair the nine-strong panel which is made up of a judge from each category and three other well-known people in the public eye – and who are outside of the publishing world - who love reading.
"Springwatch" presenter Humble will join the judging panel alongside cookery writer and "Great British Bake Off" judge Prue Leith and actor and writer Simon Williams.
Spanning five categories - first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children's book - the Costas celebrate "the most enjoyable books" by authors resident in the UK and Ireland. The category winners will be announced on Monday January 7th, with booksellers Emma Corfield-Walters, Paul Wallace, James Munroe and Fleur Sinclair among the judges.
The five category judging panels are represented by Joyce, author of the Man Booker long-listed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Novel), author and Times journalist Sathnam Sanghera (First Novel), journalist, critic and writer Anita Sethi (Biography), poet Mimi Khalvati (Poetry) and RTE broadcaster Rick O’Shea (Children’s Book).
Raworth said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be chairing the Costa judging panel. I was lucky enough to be a judge last year and am delighted to be part of the awards again. The Costa prize is for books that grab you, that inspire you and that you simply cannot put down. I can’t wait to find this year’s overall winner.”
The final judges will meet on Tuesday 29th January 2019 to select the winner of the Costa Book of the Year, which will be announced at an awards ceremony later that evening.
The ceremony, hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith, will take place at Quaglino’s in central London.
Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK's most prestigious book prize in 2006. 2018 marks the 47th year of the Book Awards.
Former winners of the Book of the Year include Helen Dunmore (2017), Sebastian Barry (who in 2016 became the first novelist ever to win the overall Book of the Year twice), Frances Hardinge (2015), Helen Macdonald (2014), Nathan Filer (2013), Hilary Mantel (2012), Andrew Miller (2011), Jo Shapcott (2010), Christopher Reid (2009), Sebastian Barry (2008), A.L. Kennedy (2007), Stef Penney (2006), Hilary Spurling (2005), Andrea Levy (2004), Mark Haddon (2003), Kate Atkinson (1995), Philip Pullman, Seamus Heaney and the late Ted Hughes.
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - published in the last year.
Each of the five category award-winning authors receives £5,000 and the author of the overall Costa Book of the Year will be presented with a cheque for £30,000.
The winner of the Costa Short Story Award – now in its seventh year and voted for by the general public - will also be announced at the awards ceremony.
For more information on this year’s Costa Book Awards, go to www.costa.co.uk/costa-book-awards.