Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK's most prestigious book prize in 2006. 2012 marks the 41st year of the Book Awards.
This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 550 entries. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included author and comedian Mark Watson; authors Wendy Holden, Marcus Sedgwick and Matt Whyman; actress and broadcaster Janet Ellis; novelist and Editor-in-Chief of Red Magazine, Sam Baker; poet Daljit Nagra and novelist and biographer, DJ Taylor.
Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Wednesday 2nd January 2013. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2012 will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 29th January 2013.
The winner of the inaugural 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 will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website, www.costabookawards.com, on Tuesday 27th November.
Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won ten times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, seven times by a collection of poetry and once by a children’s book. The 2011 Costa Book of the Year was by novelist Andrew Miller.
To be eligible for the 2012 Costa Book Awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November 2011 and 31 October 2012.
Here are the four nominated books:
Sally Gardner - Maggot Moon - Published by Hot Key Books - 30, August 2012
Narrated against the backdrop of a ruthless regime determined to beat its enemies in the race to the moon, MAGGOT MOON is the stunning new novel from award-winning author Sally Gardner. When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland. It is impossible not to be moved by MAGGOT MOON's utterly original, powerful story and the unforgettable heroism of Standish.
Diana Hendry - The Seeing - Published by Bodley Head - 5,July 2012
1953. When wild, dangerous, break-all-the-rules Natalie arrives in the quiet town of Norton, thirteen-year-old Lizzie is drawn irresistibly to the new girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Desperate for Natalie's friendship and respect, Lizzie soon discovers a side of the town - and of herself - that she had never imagined.
As the girls grow closer, Natalie and her strange, eerie brother, Philip, reveal a shocking secret. For Philip has a second sight, and all around them he sees evil - 'left-over Nazis' lying in wait until the time is right for revenge. Natalie and Philip believe it's up to them to root these people out of Norton.
Lizzie is swept up in what starts as a thrilling game - but the consequences of Philip's 'gift' quickly spiral into disaster.
Dave Shelton - A Boy and a Bear in a Boat - Published by David Fickling Books - 5, January 2012
A boy and a bear go to sea, equipped with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele. They are only travelling a short distance and it really shouldn't take long. But then their boat encounters 'unforeseeable anomalies'...
Faced with turbulent stormy seas, a terrifying sea monster and the rank remains of The Very Last Sandwich, the odds soon become pitted against our unlikely heroes. Will theHarriet, their trusted vessel, withstand the violent lashings of the salty waves? And will anyone ever answer their message in a bottle?
Brilliantly funny and tender, this beautiful book maps the growth of a truly memorable friendship and tells the story of how, when all becomes lost, the most unexpected joys can be found.
Hayley Long - What's Up With Jody Barton - Published by Macmillan Children's Books - 24, May 2012
Me and my sister are twins. She's Jolene and I'm Jody. We've both got brown hair, we're both left-handed and we both have these weirdly long little toes which make us look like long-toed mutants. But apart from that, I'd say we're fairly different. Well, actually, we're a lot different . . . It's hard enough being one half of the world's least identical twins, without both of you falling for the same guy. Jolene's turned flirting into a fine art, but Jody? Not so much. And as if a twinny love triangle wasn't messy enough . . . there's something nobody knows about Jody Barton. Something BIG. Told with the trademark warmth and laugh-out-loud humour of the much-loved LOTTIE BIGGS books, this is a book that will make you think, with a gobsmacking twist you won't believe.