Bloggers Best Costa Reviews

The lowdown on the Costa Awards 2011 shortlist, with reviews of all the books from bloggers (and us)

This week the Costa Awards shortlist was announced, the big news being another shout for Man Booker winner Julian Barnes, who could be up for an unprecedented double. Barnes' The Sense of an Ending is up against John Burnside, Andrew Miller (for many an omission from the Booker list) and Louisa Young for the best novel award. If Barnes was to win and to take home the overall Costa Book of the Year prize, he would be the first author to win both it and the Man Booker for the same book.

In the biography category, Claire Tomalin, whose biography of Dickens was published this autumn and must surely be the favourite, faces competition from a shortlist including debut author Matthew Hollis for his book about the war poet Edward Thomas. In poetry, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy is among those in contention for the prize.

Winners in the five categories will each receive £5,000 when the category winners are announced on 4 January 2012. The winning books will then compete for the Costa Book of the Year award. The £30,000 prize will be revealed on 24 January. Last year's winner was Jo Shapcott for Of Mutability.

So what do you need to know about the books? All of the below link to our favourite reviews from bloggers – and a few from us.

2011 Costa Novel Award

Julian Barnes The Sense of Ending (Jonathan Cape)

John Burnside A Summer of Drowning (Jonathan Cape)

Andrew Miller Pure (Sceptre)

Louisa Young My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (HarperCollins)

2011 Costa First Novel Award

Kevin Barry City of Bohane (Jonathan Cape)

Patrick McGuinness The Last Hundred Days (Seren)

Christie Watson Tiny Sunbirds Far Away (Quercus)

Kerry Young Pao (Bloomsbury)

2011 Costa Biography Award

Julia Blackburn Thin Paths: Journeys In and Around an Italian Mountain Village (Jonathan Cape)
Patrick and Henry Cockburn Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story (Simon & Schuster)
Matthew Hollis Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (Faber and Faber)
Claire Tomalin Charles Dickens: A Life (Viking)

2011 Costa Poetry Award

Carol Ann Duffy The Bees (Picador)

David Harsent Night (Faber and Faber)

Jackie Kay Fiere (Picador)

Sean O’Brien November (Picador)

2011 Costa Children’s Book Award

Martyn Bedford Flip (Walker Books)

Frank Cottrell Boyce The Unforgotten Coat (Walker Books)

Lissa Evans Small Change for Stuart (Doubleday)

Moira Young Blood Red Road (Marion Lloyd Books)

See more information at the official Costa Awards site