5 Costa award-winning books to read this year

A new year calls for a new reading list and luckily, we’ve got just the thing.

The winners of the annual Costa Book Awards, which is exclusively designed to honour British and Irish authors only, have finally been revealed and they’re all must-reads.

books to read this year
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Picking one 2018 winner for each of its five categories – first Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – the Costa Book Awards will then select one of the five books to crown Book of The Year at the end of January.

In the meantime, why not get familiar with the top five books to read this year?

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


The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, £6.29, Amazon 

This murder mystery novel is a debut by freelance journalist Stuart Turton and has already been hailed as one of the hottest released of 2018 and optioned for TV. Critics have famously described the story – which follows Aidon Bishop on his quest to save Evelyn Hardcastle – as Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie and Black Mirror and it isn’t hard to figure out why.  ‘We were all stunned that this exciting and accomplished novel, planned and plotted perfectly, is a debut,’ the judges of the Costa Book awards said. ‘Fresh, enticing and completely unputdownable.’

Costa Novel Award – Normal People by Sally Rooney


Normal People, £11.24, Amazon

Sally Rooney’s second novel, Normal People, was described by the judges as ‘a trailblazing novel about modern life and love that will electrify any reader’ and that exactly what it did when it was released last year. The book, which follows the 27-year-old Irish author’s critically-acclaimed debut novel Conversations with Friends, follows the lives of Connell and Marianne, who grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The brilliant story has made Rooney the youngest ever person to win the Costa Novel Award.

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


The Cut Out Girl, £13.88, Amazon

The Cut Out Girl was the ‘the hidden gem of the year’ according to the Costa Award judges. The book is based on Bart van Es’s research into his family’s wartime history as the author discovers that his grandparents had been part of the Dutch resistance and had a Jewish girl named Lien, who had lived with them as a foster child. In 2014, van Es reached out to Lien, who is now in her 80s and lives in Amsterdam.

Costa Poetry Award – Assurances by J.O. Morgan


Assurance, £7.39, Amazon

Scottish writer J.O. Morgan’s poem is both historic and frighteningly topical according to critics. Morgan, who is renowned for is book-long poems, begins Assurance in  the 1950s during the middle stage of the Cold War. The book impressed the Costa judges due to its  ‘originality and inventiveness.’

Costa Children’s Book Award – The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay


The Skylarks’ War, £4.99, Amazon

Award-winning children’s writer Hilary McKay delivered yet another masterpiece for kids that the Costa judges have called ‘as perfect a novel as you could ever want to read.’ The Skylark’s War follows a family growing up during World War One. and is the latest among McKay’s incredible body of work dating back to her publishing debut in 1992.