Costa today announces the shortlists for the 2012 Costa Book Awards.

The Costa Book Awards recognise the most enjoyable books in five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year by writers based in theUKandIreland.

Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s most prestigious book prize in 2006. 2012 marks the 41st year of the Book Awards.

This year’s Costa Book Awards attracted 550 entries. Judges on this year’s panels (three per category) included author and comedian Mark Watson; authors Wendy Holden, Marcus Sedgwick and Matt Whyman; actress and broadcaster Janet Ellis; novelist and Editor-in-Chief of Red Magazine, Sam Baker; poet Daljit Nagra and novelist and biographer, DJ Taylor.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Wednesday 2nd January 2013. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2012 will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 29th January 2013.

The winner of the inaugural Costa Short Story Award, voted for by the public, will also be announced at the ceremony. The shortlisted six stories for the Costa Short Story Award will be revealed on the Costa Book Awards website,, on Tuesday 27th November.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won ten times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, seven times by a collection of poetry and once by a children’s book. The 2011 Costa Book of the Year was Pure by novelist Andrew Miller.

To be eligible for the 2012 Costa Book Awards, books must have been first published in the UK or Ireland between 1 November 2011 and 31 October 2012.

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