In this the 50th year of the Awards, today Costa announced the 2021 shortlisted author. The only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland, these awards uniquely recognise some of the most enjoyable books published in the last year across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book.

Originally established in 1971, Costa Coffee took over this prestigious book prize from Whitbread in 2006.

In a bumper year for entries, the winners in the five categories each receive £5,000, and will be announced on Tuesday 4th January 2022. One of the five winning books is then selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year  chosen by a nine-member panel which includes representatives from the original panels who are joined by other well-known people who love reading.

The overall winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 1st February 2022.

Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included the authors, novelists and writers Jessie Burton, Andrew Wilson and Smriti Halls; novelist, memoirist and filmmaker, Xiaolu Guo; journalists including Sarah Shaffi; poets Rishi Dastidar and Ian Duhig; podcaster Manveen Rana, and booksellers from Waterstones, Blackwell’s, The Book Hive and The Little Ripon Bookshop.

First Novel Shortlist

Fault Lines by Emily Itami 

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

The Manningtree Witches by AK Blakemore 

The Stranding by Kate Sawyer 

Novel Shortlist

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak 

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed 

The High House by Jessie Greengrass 

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller 

Biography Shortlist

Consumed: A Sister’s Story by Arifa Akbar

Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston 

Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi 

The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War and Everest by Ed Caesar 

Poetry Shortlist

The Kids by Hannah Lowe

All the Names Given by Raymond Antrobus 

A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi 

Eat or We Both Starve by Victoria Kennefick 

Children’s Shortlist

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter 

The Crossing by Manjeet Mann 

The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery 

Maggie Blue and the Dark World by Anna Goodall