The Costa Book Awards shortlist for 2011 has been announced, and although no big-hitting names from science fiction have made the grade for the grown-ups, it would appear the kids are still all right.
The shortlists were chosen by three judges in each of the categories of Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and the Children’s Book Award, after being given the remit of trying to find “well-written, enjoyable books that they would strongly recommend anyone to read”. A nine-strong panel will now read all the shortlisted titles and announce the winners from each of the categories on 4th January 2012. The overall winner will then be announced at a ceremony on 24th January and the recipient will also receive prize money of £30,000.
For fans of speculative fiction, debut novelist Kevin Barry’s City of Bohane is our most likely contender. His dystopian novel, set forty years in the future in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown on the west coast of Ireland has been described by critics as a mix of “Mad Max” meets “Gangs of New York”.
And with three of the four shortlisted books on the list for the Children’s Book Award containing some element of the fantastic or futuristic (Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans, Flip by Martyn Bedford and debut novelist Moira Young’s Blood Red Road) it would seem speculative fiction has a toehold on this prize.