Penney and Quercus triumph at Costa awards

Penney and Quercus triumph at Costa awards

<p>First time novelist Stef Penney was the surprise winner of the &pound;25,000 Costa book of the year--formerly the Whitbread prize--last night, beating off a strong challenge from William Boyd and Brian Thompson. It was also a triumph for independent publisher Quercus, which picked up <em>The Tenderness of Wolves </em>after it was turned down by many rival publishers.</p><p>The award was presented by Mariella Frostrup in front of a celebrity audience at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Armando Ianucci, chairman of the judges, said about two-thirds of the panel had voted for Penney&#39;s vivid account of life in a bleak landscape--northern Canada in the 1860s.</p><p>Simon Robertson, fiction buyer at Waterstone&#39;s books, told the Guardian that sales had doubled since <em>The Tenderness of Wolves</em> won its &quot;first novel&quot; category last month. He said: &quot;It&#39;s a very strong winner that will now achieve even greater sales in hardback, and will be a monster paperback.&quot; At Foyle&#39;s, Kate Gunning, said: &quot;It&#39;s a great win for a deserving book - an atmospheric murder mystery with broad commercial appeal.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>