Everything You Need to Know About the Costa Book Awards 2017 Winners

The category winners of the Costa Book Awards 2017 were announced recently and we're thrilled to have them all available on our website (and we have all 5 on a special offer!). The 5 categories are First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book and on the 30th January the overall winner will be crowned the Costa Book of the Year which gives you just enough time to read the category winners and decide which book you think should win the top prize before it's announced.

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1. First Novel: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Gail Honeyman

Gail Honeyman's debut novel has taken the world by storm and the film rights have already been sold to Reese Witherspoon's production company. The story is about a Glaswegian woman in her late 20s called Eleanor Oliphant. Eleanor wears the same clothes every day, eats the same food every day and drinks the same 2 bottles of vodka every weekend. She's fine, not good, not happy, but fine. That is until a simple act of kindness shakes up her mundane world. Will she find the strength to start really living instead of just getting by?

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2. Novel: Reservoir 13

Jon McGregor

This thought-provoking novel starts in the early 21st century when a young girl has gone missing and her whole village band together to find out what happened to her. But, despite their best efforts, they never find her. The novel examines how this tragedy hangs over the local community for the next 13 years, focusing more on the impact the event has had on the villagers than the actual case of the missing girl itself. Reservoir 13 makes for a really unique and compelling read.

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3. Biography: In the Days of Rain

Rebecca Stott

On his deathbed, Rebecca Stott's father asked her to help him write a memoir sharing his experiences in a fundamentalist Christian cult called the Exclusive Brethren. The cult believed the world was ruled by Satan and so contact with anyone outside of the cult was strictly forbidden. As time wore on Rebecca's father, a minister in the cult, started to question this way of life and when a scandal broke out where the Exclusive Brethren's leader was caught was another cult member's wife, he finally got himself and his family out. But, his adjustment to the real world proved difficult and in this eye-opening biography you can discover a truly shocking life story.

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4. Poetry: Inside the Wave

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore sadly passed away after a battle with cancer in June 2017 and this poetry collection brings together all the poems she wrote in her final months, including the poignant Hold Out Your Arms. Her state of mind is clear in these moving poems as the themes of living and dying ripple throughout. In her lifetime Helen was regarded as a terrific poet and both her poetry and fiction achieved much critical acclaim. Read her final words in her bittersweet last ever poetry collection.

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5. Children's Book: The Explorer

Katherine Rundell

Katherine Rundell's exciting children's story was inspired by her expedition to the Amazon. In The Explorer, 4 children must learn to survive in the wild when their plane crashes in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. They must learn to navigate this strange new world they've been thrown into and embrace their chance to be real explorers. Fall into this book and be mesmerised by the vivid descriptions of the rainforest - great for all readers aged 9 years old and up.

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All these books are so brilliant, we don't think we can pick a favourite! Don't forget the Costa Book of the Year will be announced on the 30th January.

  • CSSVB 9 years +
    Katherine Rundell
    9 years +
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    Katherine Rundell's The Explorer is the winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2017
    Inspired by her expedition to the Amazon and Eva Ibbotson's magical Journey to the River Sea, Katherine Rundell's The Explorer is a modern classic of adventure, survival and friendship.

    Fred has always dreamt of being an adventurer and is wowed by the sight of the Amazon jungle as he heads over it in a tiny aeroplane. When disaster strikes and the plane crash-lands, he has the chance to explore more than ever before...

    As Fred and three other children try to find their way out of the untamed wilderness, they face danger from every angle. But then they notice that someone has been in their situation before...
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    Gail Honeyman
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    Fans of Jojo Moyes, Dorothy Koomson and Liane Moriarty will find themselves fully absorbed in Gail Honeyman's debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Already a Sunday Times bestseller, it's set to be adapted into a hit film by Reese Witherspoon's production company.

    Eleanor Oliphant knows how to survive, but not how to live. She leads a simple life, wearing the same clothes and eating the same meals every day. She also like to drink two bottles of vodka every weekend. However, sometimes she feels like something is missing from her carefully timetabled life.

    When a simple act of kindness changes her world, Eleanor must build up the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided her life and navigate around the world everyone else seems to be taking for granted...
  • Reservoir 13 - Hardback - 9780008204853 - Jon McGregor
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    Jon McGregor
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    If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the Dogs author Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13 is a page-turning read all about how one family's loss can haunt so many lives...

    It's midwinter in the early years of this century and a teenage girl has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers join the search across the moors as a media scrum descends their normally quiet home...

    Despite the disruption, life does go on and jobs still need doing - there are cows that need milking, fences need repairing, pints need pouring and a pantomime needs rehearsing...

    Full of important themes including nature, the environment, power and grace, this compelling novel takes place over 13 years and finds a stranger's tragedy casting a shadow over so many.
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    Rebecca Stott
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    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is the Costa Biography Award Winner 2017

    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is a fascinating yet shocking memoir about her experiences growing up in - and breaking away from - a fundamentalist Christian cult.

    Any readers who were left stunned and captivated by Bad Blood and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal will find themselves fully immersed in this incredible true story. Rebecca recalls how her father begged her to help him write a memoir while on his deathbed. He wanted to talk about his family's experiences in a fundamentalist Christian sect but every time he reached a certain point, the painful memories all became too much.

    The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan and lived by a number of strict rules - women had to wear headscarves and any non-sect books were banned. Although Rebecca was born into the sect, she needed to know more about their culture and asked intelligent yet dangerous questions while growing up. She soon discovered her father, an influential preacher, had been asking the same questions.

    Here Rebecca talks about her father's ongoing struggle between faith and doubt and how this affected their relationship and livelihood for a long time after breaking away...
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    Helen Dunmore
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    Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2017.

    'To be alive is to be inside the wave, always travelling until it breaks and is gone.'

    The late Helen Dunmore's Inside the Wave is an anthology of poems about the link between the living and the dead - and the underworld and mortal cause. These poems are exquisitely intense and possess a spare and eloquent lyricism as they explore the journey of life.

    This collection of poems includes Helen's final work, the poignant Hold Out Your Arms, which was written shortly before her death.