Costa Book Awards 2020

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The 20 books shortlisted for this year’s awards have just been announced. The awards welcome a wide range of books to be considered in five categories; First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. From the winners in each of these five categories, one is selected as overall Costa Book of the Year. The category winners will be announced on the 4th January, with the overall prize revealed on the 26th January.

First Novel

Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

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Other people find Majella odd. She keeps herself to herself, she doesn’t like gossip and she isn’t interested in knowing her neighbours’ business. But suddenly everyone in the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up wants to know all about hers. Since her dad disappeared during the Troubles, she has tried to live a quiet life with her alcoholic mother. She works in the local chip shop (Monday-Saturday, Sundays off), wears the same clothes every day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, nuked in the microwave) and binge watches Dallas (the best show ever aired on TV) from the safety of her single bed. She has no friends and no boyfriend and Majella thinks things are better that way.

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain (available on eBook)

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Amjad never imagined he’d be a single father. But, when tragedy strikes, he must step up for his two children – while his world falls apart. Saahil dreams of providing for his dad and little sister. But his life is about to take an unexpected turn. The baby of the family, Zahra, is shielded from the worst the world has to offer. But, as she grows up, she wonders if she can rely on anyone but herself. There’s no such thing as an easy journey. But when life sends the family in different directions, will they take their own paths – or find their way back to each other?

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (available on eBook)

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Meet the Ramdin-Chetan family: forged through loneliness, broken by secrets, saved by love. Irrepressible Betty Ramdin, her shy son Solo and their marvellous lodger, Mr Chetan, form an unconventional household, happy in their differences. Happy, that is, until the night when a glass of rum, a heart-to-heart and a terrible truth explodes the family unit, driving them apart. Brave and brilliant, steeped in affection, ‘Love After Love’ asks us to consider what happens at the very brink of human forgiveness, and offers hope to anyone who has loved and lost and has yet to find their way back.

All the Water in the World by Karen Raney

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Maddy is sixteen. Deeply curious, wry and vivacious, she’s poised at the outset of adulthood. She has loyal friends, a mother with whom she’s unusually close, a father she’s never met, devoted grandparents, and a crush on a boy named Jack. Maddy also has cancer. Hungry for experience despite living in the shadow of illness, Maddy seeks out her first romantic relationship, ponders philosophical questions, finds solace in music and art, and tracks down her father, Antonio. She continually tests the depths and limits of her closeness with her mother, while Eve has to come to terms with the daughter she loves and only partly knows, in a world she can’t control.

Novel

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

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Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has. In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides that thunder up staircases, the clouds that move in slow procession through the upper halls. On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food and waterlilies to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone. Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims? Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous.

Peace Talks by Tim Finch

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Edvard Behrens is a senior diplomat of some repute, highly regarded for his work on international peace negotiations. Under his arbitration, unimaginable atrocities are coolly dissected; invisible and ancient lines, grown taut and frayed with conflict, redrawn. In his latest post, Edvard has been sent a nondescript resort hotel in the Tyrol. High up on this mountain, the air is bright and clear. When he isn’t working, Edvard reads, walks, listens to music. He confides in no one – no one but his wife Anna. Anna, who he loves with all his heart; Anna, always present and yet forever absent. Honest, honourable, tragic, witty, wise, an unforgettable novel of love, loss and the human longing for peace, ‘Peace Talks’ maps the darkest and most tender territories of the human heart.

The Less Dead by Denise Mina (available on eBook)

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When Margot goes in search of her birth mother for the first time, she meets her aunt, Nikki, instead. Margot learns that her mother, Susan, was a sex worker murdered soon after Margot’s adoption. To this day, Susan’s killer has never been found. Nikki asks Margot for help. She has received threatening and haunting letters from the murderer, for decades. She is determined to find him, but she can’t do it alone.

The Mermaid of Black Conch: A Love Story by Monique Roffey

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March 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch. A fisherman sings to himself, waiting for a catch – but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect. A beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by the fisherman and and his song. But her fascination is her undoing. She hears his boat’s engine again, follows it, and finds herself at the mercy of American tourists. After a fearsome battle, she is pulled out of the sea and strung up on the dock as a trophy. The fisherman rescues her, and gently wins her trust – as she starts to transform into a woman. The novel’s characters are an unlikely mix: a mermaid, a fisherman, a deaf boy, a Caribbean artist and sweetman and a benevolent white landowner.

Biography

The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes (available on audio)

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In the summer of 1885, three Frenchmen arrived in London for a few days’ shopping. One was a Prince, one was a Count, and the third was a commoner with an Italian name, who four years earlier had been the subject of one of John Singer Sargent’s greatest portraits. The three men’s lives play out against the backdrop of the Belle Epoque in Paris. The beautiful age of glamour and pleasure more often showed its ugly side: hysterical, narcissistic, decadent and violent, a time of rampant prejudice and blood-and-soil nativism, with more parallels to our own age than we might imagine. Our guide through this world is Samuel Pozzi, society doctor, pioneer gynaecologist, and free-thinker, a rational and scientific man with a famously complicated private life. ‘The Man in the Red Coat’ is at once a fresh and original portrait of the French Belle Epoque and a life of a man ahead of his time.

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke

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As a specialist in palliative medicine, Dr Rachel Clarke chooses to inhabit a place many people would find too tragic to contemplate. Every day she tries to bring care and comfort to those reaching the end of their lives and to help make dying more bearable. Rachel’s training was put to the test in 2017 when her GP father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She learned that nothing – even the best palliative care – can sugar-coat the pain of losing someone you love. And yet, she argues, in a hospice there is more of what matters in life – more love, more strength, more kindness, more joy, more tenderness, more grace, more compassion – than you could ever imagine. For if there is a difference between people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it is simply this: that the terminally ill know their time is running out, while we live as though we have all the time in the world.

The Louder I Will Sing by Lee Lawrence

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The Louder I Will Sing’ is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young black man. It’s a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.

Ghost Town: A Liverpool Shadow Play by Jeff Young

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Liverpool is a city of ghosts. Through the centuries, millions have lived here or come to find a new life, and found safe harbour. More than any other city in Britain its history resonates in the buildings, landscapes and stories that have seeped into the lives of its inhabitants. Jeff Young takes us on a journey through the Liverpool of his childhood – down back alleys and through arcades, into vanished tenements and oyster bars, strip tease pubs and theatres. We watch as he turns from schoolboy truant into an artist obsessed with Kafka, Terence Davies and The Fall. Along the way he conjures ghosts and puts hexes on the developers who’ve ruined the city of his dreams. Layering memoir, history, photography and more this is a highly original approach to this great city.

Poetry

The Air Year by Caroline Bird (available on eBook)

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The Air Year’ is a time of flight, transition and suspension: the shrill air as you fall through love, before crash, comedown – commitment. The poet crosses challenging threshholds, fear of commitment, of motherhood, shame and panic. ‘I am proficient at beginnings’, Caroline Bird says. This book goes further and (with her characteristic energy and exuberance) risks the next level. People run on treadmills facing blue walls, burn talismans in their gardens, mime marriage with invisible wedding rings. Pilots bung bullet-holes with chewing gum. We cling on, to rickety rope-bridges, to something in the air, to one another. Bird’s speakers exist in a state of suspension, trapped in liminal space between take-off and landing, a time of pure transition. Love is uncontrollable, joy comes and goes at hurricane speed. They walk to the cliff-edge, close their eyes and step out into the air.

The Historians by Eavan Boland (available on eBook)

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A collection from Eavan Boland, a pioneering figure in Irish poetry who has been credited with inspiring a generation. This is her final collection, following her passing in April 2020.

My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long

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Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, Rachel Long’s much-anticipated debut collection of poems, ‘My Darling from the Lions’, announces the arrival of a thrilling new presence in poetry. Each poem has a vivid story to tell – of family quirks, the perils of dating, the grip of religion or sexual awakening – stories that are, by turn, emotionally insightful, politically conscious, wise, funny, and outrageous.

Citadel by Martha Sprackland

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Shortlisted for Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2020 Poetry Book of the Month – The Telegraph May 2020 Juana of Castile (commonly referred to as Juana la Loca – Joanna the Mad) was a sixteenth-century Queen of Spain, daughter of the instigators of the Inquisition.

Children’s Book

Wranglestone by Darren Charlton (available on eBook)

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When Peter puts the lake-bound sanctuary of Wranglestone in danger by allowing a stranger to come ashore, he’s forced to leave and help rancher Cooper herd the dead from their shores. But as love blossoms between the pair, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past.

Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant (available on eBook)

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In the aftermath of World War One, everyone is trying to rebuild their lives. If Ben is to avoid being sent back to the orphanage, he needs to find his brother Sam, wounded in action and is now missing. Lotti’s horrible aunt and uncle want to send her away to boarding-school (when she has just so successfully managed to get expelled from her last one!) And Clara, their young teacher, is waiting for news of her missing fiance.Just as they think they’ve found their feet in the new order, disaster strikes, and Lotti and Ben must get away. And so they hatch a plan – to cross the Channel on Ben’s narrowboat and find Sam. And there’s something in France that Lotti is looking for, too. Buffeted by storms, chased by the police, Lotti, Ben, Clara and a growing number of dogs set out on an epic journey, on the search for lost loved ones and a place to call home.

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson (available on eBook)

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Freddie Yates loves facts. A fact can’t leave you and no one can take it away. But when he learns the surprising fact that his biological dad might be living in Wales, Freddy and his best friends sneak off to find him, unwittingly causing a chain of ‘miraculous’ events involving an onion-eating contest, superhero scarecrows and life-saving sheep.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

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Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know . That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden. I looked into his eyes and I knew. Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way. This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t, as their brother and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

For information on how to access eBooks and eAudio please visit the Wokingham Libraries website https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/e-books/

Costa Book Awards – category winners announced

The five 2018 Costa Category Award winners have just been announced.

Costa First Novel Award WinnerThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

9781408889510[1]“As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.”

What the judges said: “This ingenious, intriguing and highly original mindbender of a murder mystery gripped us all. We were all stunned that this exciting and accomplished novel, planned and plotted perfectly, is a debut. Fresh, enticing and completely unputdownable.”

Costa Novel Award Winner – Normal People by Sally Rooney9780571334643[1]

“Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege.”

What the judges said: “A trailblazing novel about modern life and love that will electrify any reader”.

Costa Biography Award Winner – The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es

9780241284995[1]“The story of a man’s search for the astonishing truth about his family’s past. The last time Lien saw her parents was in the Hague when she was collected at the door by a stranger and taken to a city far away to be hidden from the Nazis. She was raised by her foster family as one of their own, but a falling out well after the war meant they were no longer in touch. What was her side of the story, Bart van Es – a grandson of the couple who looked after Lien – wondered? What really happened during the war, and after? So began an investigation that would consume and transform both Bart van Es’s life and Lien’s. Lien was now in her 80s and living in Amsterdam. Reluctantly, she agreed to meet him, and eventually they struck up a remarkable friendship.”

What the judges said: “The hidden gem of the year. Sensational and gripping, and shedding light on some of the most urgent issues of our time, this was our unanimous winner”.

Costa Poetry Award Winner – Assurances by J.O. Morgan 9781787330856[1]

“A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, ‘Assurances‘ begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction. Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Morgan places moments of calm reflection alongside the tensions inherent in guarding against such a permanent threat. A work of variations and possibilities, we hear the thoughts of those involved who are trying to understand and justify their roles. We examine the lives of civilians who are not aware of the impending danger, as well as those who are.”

What the judges said: “We were all gripped by this polyphonic book-length poem and dazzled by its originality and inventiveness”.

9781509894949[1]Costa Children’s Book Award Winner – The Skylark’s War by Hilary McKay

“Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer. When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?”

What the judges said: “As perfect a novel as you could ever want to read”.

The overall Costa book of the year will be announced on Tuesday 29 January 2019.

Reserve your copy on the library website www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/search-renew-and-reserve-items/, or visit your local library.

Costa Book Awards Shortlist 2018

cba2018portrait[1].jpgThe Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.

The prize has five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book, with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year.

The shortlisted books are detailed below…

Costa First Novel Award

9781787198036[1]Pieces of Me by Natalie Hart

“Emma did not go to war looking for love, but Adam is unlike any other. Under the secret shadow of trauma, Emma decides to leave Iraq and joins Adam to settle in Colorado. But isolation and fear find her, once again, when Adam is re-deployed.”

 

 

An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato9781474606356[1]

“When Katharine is found dead at the foot of her stairs, it is the mystery of her life which consumes daughter, Laura. The medical examiner’s report, in which precious parts of Katharine’s body are weighed and categorised, motivates Laura to write her own version of events. To bear witness to the unbearable blank space between each itemised entry. What emerges is a picture of life lived in the shadows, as well as an attempt to discover how and why her mother died. To make sense of her own grief Laura must piece her mother’s body back together and in doing so, she is forced to confront a woman silenced by her own mother and wronged by her husband. A woman who felt shackled by motherhood and unable to love freely.”

9781408889510[1]The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

“As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath.”

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson9780857525512[1]

“Professor Kristian Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. He does not know that a query from a Mrs Tina Hopgood about a world-famous antiquity in his museum is about to alter the course of his life. Oceans apart, an unexpected correspondence flourishes as they discover shared passions: for history and nature; for useless objects left behind by loved ones; for the ancient and modern world, what is lost in time, what is gained and what has stayed the same. Through intimate stories of joy, anguish, and discovery, each one bares their soul to the other. But when Tina’s letters suddenly cease, Kristian is thrown into despair. Can this unlikely friendship survive?”

Costa Novel Award

9780241338070[1]The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

“When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters. The Trojan War is known as a man’s story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?”

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman9781786482570[1]

“In ‘The Italian Teacher‘, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of 20th-century art and its demons, vultures and chimeras. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of exacting vulnerability and realism: talent made irrelevant by personality. Stripped of egotism, authenticity or genius, Pinch forces us to face the deep held fear of a life lived in vain.”

 

9780571334643[1]Normal People by Sally Rooney

“Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege.”

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan9780857525345[1]

“Farouk’s country has been torn apart by war. Lampy’s heart has been laid waste by Chloe. John’s past torments him as he nears his end. The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.”

 

Costa Biography Award

9780571326211[1]To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine

“Every memoir is a battle between reality and invention – but in her follow up to ‘Clothes, Music, Boys’, Viv Albertine has reinvented the genre with her unflinching honesty. ‘To Throw Away Unopened‘ is a fearless dissection of one woman’s obsession with the truth – the truth about family, power, and her identity as a rebel and outsider. It is a gaping wound of a book, both an exercise in blood-letting and psychological archaeology, excavating what lies beneath: the fear, the loneliness, the anger. It is a brutal expose of human dysfunctionality, the impossibility of true intimacy, and the damage wrought upon us by secrets and revelations, siblings and parents.”

The Cut Out Girl by Bart Van Es9780241284995[1]

“The story of a man’s search for the astonishing truth about his family’s past. The last time Lien saw her parents was in the Hague when she was collected at the door by a stranger and taken to a city far away to be hidden from the Nazis. She was raised by her foster family as one of their own, but a falling out well after the war meant they were no longer in touch. What was her side of the story, Bart van Es – a grandson of the couple who looked after Lien – wondered? What really happened during the war, and after? So began an investigation that would consume and transform both Bart van Es’s life and Lien’s. Lien was now in her 80s and living in Amsterdam. Reluctantly, she agreed to meet him, and eventually they struck up a remarkable friendship.”

9780241349649[1]The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

“In one devastating week, Raynor and her husband Moth lost their home of 20 years, just as a terminal diagnosis took away their future together. With nowhere else to go, they decided to walk the South West Coast Path: a 630-mile sea-swept trail from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. This ancient, wind-battered landscape strips them of every comfort they had previously known. With very little money for food or shelter, Raynor and Moth carry everything on their backs and wild camp on beaches and clifftops. But slowly, with every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, the walk sets them on a remarkable journey. They don’t know how far they will travel, but – to their surprise – they find themselves on a path to freedom.”

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: The Autobiography by Benjamin9781471168925[1] Zephaniah

“Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art and his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness and the National Front, Benjamin‘s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations and on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, and to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books. His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the world and he hasn’t stopped performing and touring since. Nelson Mandela, after hearing Benjamin‘s tribute to him while he was in prison, requested an introduction to the poet that grew into a lifelong relationship, inspiring Benjamin‘s work with children in South Africa.”

Costa Poetry Award

9780571337651[1]Us by Zaffar Kunial

The debut collection of poems from Zaffar Kunial.

“Across the pages of “Us” he vocalises what it means to be a human being, planting your two feet upon the dizzying earth – and he does so delicately, urgently, intimately.”

Assurances by J.O. Morgan9781787330856[1]

“A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, ‘Assurances‘ begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction. Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Morgan places moments of calm reflection alongside the tensions inherent in guarding against such a permanent threat. A work of variations and possibilities, we hear the thoughts of those involved who are trying to understand and justify their roles. We examine the lives of civilians who are not aware of the impending danger, as well as those who are.”

9780571338917[1]Soho by Richard Scott

“In this intimate and vital debut, Richard Scott creates an uncompromising portrait of love and shame, drawing upon his experience of London’s gay communities. Examining how trauma becomes a part of the language we use, Scott takes us back to our roots: childhood incidents, the violence our scars betray, forgotten forebears and histories. The hungers of sexual encounters are underscored by the risks that threaten when we give ourselves to or accept another. But the poems celebrate joy and tenderness, too, as in a sequence re-imagining the love poetry of Verlaine. The collection crescendos to Scott’s tour de force, ‘Oh My Soho!’, where a night stroll under the street lamps of Soho Square becomes a search for true lineage, a reclamation of stolen ancestors, hope for healing, and, above all, the finding of our truest selves.”

Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan9780571337675[1]

“Hannah Sullivan’s debut collection is a revelation – three long poems of fresh ambition, intensity and substance. Though each poem stands apart, their inventive and looping encounters make for a compelling unity.”

 

 

Costa Children’s Book Award

9781444919554[1]The Colour of the Sun by David Almond

“One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar – the little Tyneside town that has always been his home – but as the day passes, it becomes ever more dramatic and strange. A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible. As he turns away from the gossip and excitement and sets off roaming towards the sunlit summit at the top of the town, where the real and imaginary world begin to blur. This is a moving, funny, inspirational and magical novel from the bestselling author of ‘Skellig’.”

Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay9781788450171[1]

“Samkad lives deep in the Philippine jungle, and has never encountered anyone from outside his own tribe before. He’s about to become a man, and while he’s desperate to grow up, he’s worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki. However, Samkad’s world is about to change utterly. He discovers the brother he never knew he had. A brother who tells him of a people called ‘Americans’. A people who are bringing war and destruction, right to their home.”

9781474942386[1]Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

“Sarah has played many roles. Dutiful daughter. Talented gymnast. Persecuted Jew. Lost orphan. But now she faces her most challenging role of all. Now she must become the very thing she hates. For the only way she can survive as a spy at a boarding school for the cream of Nazi society is to become a monster like them. A monster who can destroy them.”

 

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay9781509894949[1]

“Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer. When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?”

Category winners will be announced on Monday 7th January 2019, with the Costa Book of the Year announced on Tuesday 29th January 2019.

Reserve your copy on the library website www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/search-renew-and-reserve-items/, or visit your local library.