Judging the Costa Book Awards

8 Nov 2017

costa book awards logo

Judging the Costa prize – the Novel category – was an eye-opening experience. One thing that struck me was the large number of historical novels (and a few futuristic ones too, it has to be said).  It’s not something you tend to notice unless you have a stack of fifty books to read on your office floor. The better historical novels are less about escaping into the past, and more about reframing the uncertainties and horrors of what’s happening in the world today – let’s just say I read more than one reworking of a Greek tragedy.

The most exciting bit was the final meeting – we each read the other judges’ selections (my two fellow judges chose three books each and then sat in a room to discuss, until we reached an agreement. It was quite a long meeting. We weren’t always united. But in the end, the best book definitely won. 

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