Congratulations to Frances Hardinge (English, 1992) who has won the Costa children’s book award for her 7th novel The Lie Tree. Hardinge, who is originally from Kent and now lives in Isleworth, told Somerville that she feels “honoured to the point of slight giddiness,” about the award.
After being granted a prize of £5000, Hardinge is now eligible to win the overall 2015 Costa Book of the Year award, which has only been won once by a children’s author – in 2001, Philip Pullman won for his novel The Amber Spyglass. “[It] could, and should, have gone to a children’s book long before, but someone had to be first, and I was the lucky one,” said Pullman on receiving the award.
The Costa Book of the Year award was launched in 1971 and known as the Whitbread Literary Awards up until 2006. The overall winner will be announced on the 26th of January and receive a prize of £30,000. Additionally, sales have historically been massively increased as a direct result of being shortlisted for, or winning an award.
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 is 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.