It suddenly occurs to me that I neglected to announce the winner of the Whitbread Award. Wonder why that slipped my mind. Maybe because they changed the name to the Costa?
Somebody’s got to sponsor the awards, but it sure takes away some of the gravitas when the naming rights get sold. Can we please leave that kind of ridiculousness to the world of sports? (I’m sure I’ll be watching Cubs games at Motorola Park one of these years.)
Anyway, enough grumbling. The winner? Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves. From the official site:
Stef beat novelist William Boyd, biographer Brian Thompson, poet John Haynes and childrens writer Linda Newbery to take the first-ever Costa Book of the Year award for her debut novel The Tenderness of Wolves – a murder mystery set in the snowy landscapes of Canada, a country she has never visited.
The way the Whit — I mean, Costa — works is that shortlists are announced in five categories: First Novel, Novel, Children’s Book, Poetry, and Biography. Then winners are announced in each of the categories. Then the overall winner — the Book of the Year — is chosen from that group. It’s kind of like chosing the Pope but without the smoking chimney.
The category winners are:
The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney (Simon & Schuster)
Restless, by William Boyd (Bloomsbury)
Set in Stone, by Linda Newbery (Random/David Fickling)
Letter to Patience, by John Haynes (Seren)
Keeping Mum, by Brian Thompson (Down the Shore)
The announcement was made February 7 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. (Between you and me, I hear the hotel’s not what it once was.) You can read the full press release here.
Update: Forgot to mention that The Tenderness of Wolves has not been published in the U.S. by Simon & Schuster yet — that will happen in July.