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Costa Book Award - First Novel

Launched in 1971, the Costa Book Awards is one of the UK's most prestigious and popular book prizes and celebrates the most enjoyable books of the year by writers resident in the UK and Ireland.

WINNER 2021

Open water

Nelson, Caleb Azumah ISBN: 9780241448786
Paperback

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Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists - he a photographer, she a dancer - trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence. At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it.

- Browns Books Synopsis

SHORTLIST 2021

Blakemore, A. K. ISBN: 9781783786442
Paperback

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Itami, Emily ISBN: 9781474620246
Hardback

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Nelson, Caleb Azumah ISBN: 9780241448779
Laminated

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Sawyer, Kate ISBN: 9781529340662
Hardback

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Uniquely, the prize has five categories – First NovelNovelBiographyPoetry and Children’s Book – with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the year and each category is judged separately by a panel of three judges per category. The Costa Book of the Year is then chosen by a nine-member panel which includes representatives from the original panels who are joined by other well-known people who love reading.