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Winner of 2021 Costa Book of the Year award named

The judging panel praised The Kids by Hannah Lowe as ‘crafted and skilful but also accessible’.

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Costa Book Awards (Costa Book of The Year/PA)

Costa Book Awards (Costa Book of The Year/PA)

Costa Book Awards (Costa Book of The Year/PA)

A book of sonnets drawing on a decade of teaching at an inner-city London sixth form has been named 2021 Costa Book of the Year.

The Kids is by poet and university lecturer Hannah Lowe.

Tackling themes such as learning, growing up and parenthood, the work draws on Lowe’s experience as a teacher during the 2000s as well as her own coming of age during the 80s and 90s.

It concludes with poems about her young son learning to navigate modern London.

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The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Costa Book Of The Year/PA)

The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Costa Book Of The Year/PA)

The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Costa Book Of The Year/PA)

BBC News broadcaster Reeta Chakrabarti, chairman of the judging panel, said: “After a long and passionate discussion that reflected the quality and complexity of all five books, one winner emerged.

“Hannah Lowe’s The Kids is a book to fall in love with – it’s joyous, it’s warm and it’s completely universal. It’s crafted and skilful but also accessible.

“Words from the judges were ‘insightful’, ‘empathetic’, ‘generous’, ‘funny’, ‘compassionate’, ‘uplifting’. You will love it.”

The announcement was made on Tuesday at an awards ceremony in London hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith.

Lowe beat the bookmakers’ favourite, bestselling novelist Claire Fuller’s fourth book Unsettled Ground, to win the overall prize of £30,000.

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Claire Fuller’s book Unsettled Ground (Costa Book Of The Year/PA)

Claire Fuller’s book Unsettled Ground (Costa Book Of The Year/PA)

Claire Fuller’s book Unsettled Ground (Costa Book Of The Year/PA)

The other three category winners in the running were former newspaper editor John Preston for Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell, a biography of the media mogul; British-Ghanaian short story writer and photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson for his first novel, Open Water; and actor and children’s author Manjeet Mann, for her second work of young adult fiction, The Crossing.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the awards, each author also receives a certificate featuring traditional hand-printed elements using a vintage press merged with digital production techniques.

Jill McDonald, chief executive of Costa Coffee, said: “On behalf of all of us at Costa Coffee, many congratulations to Hannah Lowe for winning the 2021 Costa Book of the Year in this, the awards’ milestone anniversary year.”

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The ceremony also saw LE Yates named winner of the 2021 Costa Short Story Award

The London-based writer and lecturer won the public vote and £3,500 for her story, Sunblock.

The Mermaid Of Black Conch by Trinidadian-born British writer Monique Roffey was named Book of the Year for 2020.

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