Apparently Costa makes fine coffee.  Also, apparently, they’re interested in promoting fine literature.  I can’t say much about their coffee because I don’t live in the UK, but I’m sure I’ll have a few things to say about the finalists of the First Novel and Novel awards.  Here are the shortlists for those two categories:

2014 Costa Novel Award shortlist

  • Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
  • Monique Roffey for House of Ashes (Simon and Schuster)
  • Ali Smith for How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Colm Toibin for Nora Webster (Viking)

2014 Costa First Novel Award shortlist

  • Carys Bray for A Song for Issy Bradley (Hutchinson)
  • Mary Costello for Academy Street (Canongate)
  • Emma Healey for Elizabeth is Missing (Viking)
  • Simon Wroe for Chop Chop (Viking)

I’ve read the Mukherjee (which I liked) and the Smith (which I adored).  The novels by Toibin and Roffey are going to have to be extra special to knock the Smith off it’s very high pedestal.

I’m always excited by first novels, and from a quick skim of the four presented it looks like we have a varied bunch of books and voices.

Also, very nice to see the predominance of female writers on both lists.  Across all 20 books that were nominated the gender split was 50/50.  This is something that should be recognised and applauded.

So, roll on the books.  Except reviews to start appearing next week.

You can find the finalists in the other categories here.