Hilary Mantel made literary history last night, becoming the first author to win the Costa Novel Award after taking the Man Booker Prize for the same book, “Bring Up the Bodies.”
Mantel’s victory is one of a trio of firsts for Whitbread Plc’s annual Costa Book Awards, which saw women authors triumph in all five categories including biography, captured by Mary and Bryan Talbot’s graphic memoir, “Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes.”
Other winners included Francesca Segal, daughter of the late Erich Segal, who took the Costa First Novel Award for “The Innocents” (Chatto & Windus). A retelling of Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence,” it unfolds in the heart of present-day London’s Jewish community.
These category winners will receive 5,000 pounds ($8,148) from Whitbread’s Costa coffee-shop chain, and go on to compete for the 30,000 pound Costa Book of the Year, to be awarded in London on Jan. 29.
Previously known as the Whitbreads, the prizes seek to honor the most enjoyable books of the year by authors based in the U.K. and Ireland. They have emerged as a fixture of the London literary calendar since their creation in 1971.
“Bring Up the Bodies” (Fourth Estate) has already helped Mantel become the first U.K. author to win the Man Booker Prize twice and the first to win for consecutive novels. The second installment of her trilogy dramatizing the rise and fall of Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell, it was “Quite simply the best novel of the year,” the Costa Novel Award judges said.
Mary Talbot jointly snagged the Costa Biography Award with her husband Bryan, a comic artist whose solo work includes a series of graphic detective novels.
“Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes” (Cape) is the first graphic work to win a Costa award, and intertwines the stories of two father-daughter relationships -- those of James Joyce and his daughter Lucia, and of Mary Talbot and her father, an expert on Joyce’s work.
Among other Costas, Kathleen Jamie captured the Poetry Award with “The Overhaul” (Picador), which judges described as “the collection that will convert you to poetry.”
Sally Gardner, whose dyslexia saw her branded “unteachable” as a child, won the Children’s Book Award for “Maggot Moon” (Hot Key Books).
Muse highlights include Norman Lebrecht on music and Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.