Jonathan Coe’s Brexit-themed novel among Costa Book Award winners

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Costa Book Awards 2019

Jonathan Coe’s book Middle England, which takes a humorous look at life in Britain before and after the Brexit referendum, has been named the best novel of 2019 at the Costa Book Awards.

The book was described by the prize’s judges as “the perfect novel for now”.

Award organisers said Coe’s 13th novel tells the story of “a changing country and the cracks that appear within families and between generations”.

He is one of five winning authors in different genre categories.

They will each receive £5,000 and go forward to be in contention to be named the overall Costa Book of the Year on 28 January.

Middle England spans 2010 to 2018 and follows a range of characters including a couple who attend marriage counselling after voting different ways in the 2016 referendum.

In the other categories, Sara Collins won best first novel for her gothic romance The Confessions of Frannie Langton, about the twisted love affair between a Jamaican maid and her French mistress in 19th Century London.

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Costa Book Awards

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Left-right: Jack Fairweather, Jasbinder Bilan, Jonathan Coe, Sara Collins and Mary Jean Chan

Welsh author and former war reporter Jack Fairweather’s biography of unsung war hero Witold Pilecki, who infiltrated Auschwitz, won the biography award; while Jasbinder Bilan’s first children’s novel Asha & the Spirit Bird was also among the winners.

Costa Book Awards 2019 winners

  • First novel award – The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
  • Novel award – Middle England by Jonathan Coe
  • Biography award – The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather
  • Poetry award – Flèche by Mary Jean Chan
  • Children’s book award – Asha & the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan

Last year the overall award was won by Irish author Sally Rooney for her second novel Normal People.

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