Huge congratulations again to Frances Hardinge (English, 1992), whose 7th novel The Lie Tree was announced as the 2015 Costa Book of the Year last night.
The award was announced last night in a ceremony in London, and came just three weeks after Hardinge won the Costa Children’s Book Award for The Lie Tree. This is the second children’s book to ever win the main award, after Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass won in 2001.
In her acceptance speech, a clearly thrilled and surprised Hardinge said: “It is a fantastic time to be writing children’s fiction, YA [young adult] fiction – it’s thoroughly exciting – and for those people who might be hearing this who think that children’s and YA fiction is not their thing: please do come and have an explore; there’s a beautiful jungle out there.” To hear Frances Hardinge discussing the award, her book, and the place of children’s and young adults’ fiction with John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, click here (2.41.00 on the clock).
The Costa Book of the Year Award was launched in 1971 and was known as the Whitbread Literary Awards up until 2006. As winner of the award, Hardinge received a prize of £30,000.
The Lie Tree, a fantasy novel about a tree that feeds on whispered lies, was described by the Costa Prize judges as a “dark, sprawling, fiercely clever novel that blends history and fantasy in a way that will grip readers of all ages.” It was previously shortlisted for the Guardian children’s fiction prize, the 2015 Independent Bookshop Week Book Awards and has been nominated for the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Earlier this year, on the 26th of October, Hardinge’s 6th novel Cuckoo Song became the first children’s book to win the British Fantasy Awards’ Robert Holdstock Award for best fantasy novel.