Award: Costa Book Award


The Costa Book Awards are sponsored by the coffee shop chain. Prior to 2006, the award was named Whitbread Book Awards. The change in sponsor may have produced changes in the amount of the cash prize, but the judging process seems to be unchanged.

For each award category there are three judges—generally an author, a bookseller and a journalist.  They select a shortlist of four books, which includes the winner.  The criteria are to select well-written, enjoyable books that they would strongly recommend anyone to read. A nine-member judging panel, which includes the author from each of the original category judging panel together with a Chairman and three other people in the public eye who love reading, selects one book from these five as overall Costa Book of the Year. 

Books must be submitted directly by publishers. Authors of submitted books must have been resident in the United Kingdom or Ireland for over six months of each of the previous three years (although UK or Irish nationality is not essential). Books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland.

The shortlists are announced in November, and winners selected in January. Prior to 2006, the total prize fund was £50,000.  Each of the category winners received £5,000, and the overall winner received a further £25,000. The current prize fund is unknown.


  • Shortlists prior to 1995 are unavailable.
  • First Novel category began as “First Book” in 1975, but was not awarded 1976 through 1980.
  • Biography category had two winners in 1983.
  • Poetry began in 1971 but was not awarded 1972 through 1984.
  • Children’s category had two winners in 1974 and no winner in 1975.

Event Calendar

? Event Calendar
November 2013


Costa shortlists
January 2014


Costa winners


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