The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Costa Book Awards 2021

The Booksellers Association administer the Costa Book Awards, which is one of the most prestigious and popular literary prizes in the UK and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.

The Costa Book Awards have five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book. The winner in each category receives £5,000. One of these five books is selected as the overall winner of the Book of the Year and receives a further £30,000, making a total prize fund of £55,000. It is the only prize which places children's books alongside adult books in this way.

The Awards started life in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards. From 1985 they were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006, when Costa Coffee took over ownership - the year that both Costa and the Book Awards celebrated their 35th anniversary.

2021 marks the 50th year of the Book Awards. Originally established in 1971, the rollcall of winners has included some of the best-loved, highest-profile and bestselling books of the past half century with shortlisted and winning books going on to be enjoyed by huge numbers of readers.


Photo of books, coffee cup and plant in front of a blue velvet sofa

Costa Novel Award

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree)
Costa First Novel Award
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking)
Costa Biography Award
Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston (Viking)
Costa Poetry Award (Costa Book of the Year winner)
The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Bloodaxe Books)
Costa Children's Book Award
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann (Penguin)

To find out more about this year's Costa Book Awards, visit the Costa Book Awards website

If you missed it, you can watch the full ceremony and the highlights here.

Follow Costa Book Awards on Twitter @CostaBookAwards and Instagram @costabookawards for all our latest news and announcements.
Join the new Costa Book Awards Book Club on Facebook at
Download the shortlist, category winners and Costa Book of the Year posters at


Entry for the 2021 Costa Book Awards has now closed. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive information about submitting entries for 2022, please email