Costa Book Awards 2008

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Formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, the Costa Book Awards are selected by a nine judge panel. Each category winner receives £5,000. The overall winner is announced on 27 January 2009, and will win £25,000. The official website is

Book of the Year


Review of

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

Like our reviewer, the judges were not impressed by the ending, but they thought Roseanne McNulty was one of the great voices of narrative fiction and that this transcended any problems with the book. Full Review

First Novel


Review of

The Outcast by Sadie Jones

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Bookbag agreed with the judges' decision, with The Outcast winning out over the other shortlisted books: The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams, Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith and Inside the Whale by Jennie Rooney. Full Review



Review of

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

Bookbag thought that The Secret Scripture was a great book with a poor ending, but it beat fellow nominees The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (which Bookbag particularly loved), A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernieres and Trauma by Patrick McGrath. Full Review



Review of

Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill

3star.jpg Autobiography

Bookbag disagreed with the Costa judges, only giving Somewhere Towards the End 3 stars. However, it still had lots going for it. The nominees were Bloomsbury Ballerina by Judith Mackrell, If You Don't Know Me By Now by Sathnam Sanghera (Bookbag's favourite) and Chagall by Jackie Wullschlager. Full Review


The Broken Word by Adam Foulds won the prize for best poetry book, despite strong competition from For All We Know by Ciaran Carson, Sunday at the Skin Launderette by Kathryn Simmonds and Salvation Jane by Greta Stoddart.

Children's Book


Review of

Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

3.5star.jpg Teens

Bookbag disagreed with the Costa judges again. Just Henry was Bookbag's least favourite of the nominees. Bookbag raved about Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray, The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd and Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine. Full Review

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