Jonathan Coe, Sara Collins and Jack Fairweather win at the 2019 Costa Book Awards

Penguin Random House authors win three of the five categories – Best Novel, Best First Novel and Biography. All three authors will be in the running to win 2019 Costa Book of the Year.

Winning titles by Jonathan Coe, Sara Collins and Jack Fairweather

Tonight it was announced that Penguin Random House UK authors have won in three of the five categories at the 2019 Costa Book Awards. The awards, which recognise the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland, are split into five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. One of the five winners will then be chosen as Book of the Year later in January, winning £30,000.

Middle England
Middle England

'The book everyone is talking about' The Times

'A comedy for our times'

The country is changing and, up and down the land, cracks are appearing - within families and between generations.

In the Midlands Benjamin Trotter is trying to help his aged father navigate a Britain that seems to have forgotten he exists, whilst in London his friend Doug doesn't understand why his teenage daughter is eternally enraged. Meanwhile, newlyweds Sophie and Ian can find nothing to agree on except the fact that their marriage is on the rocks . . .

A hilarious follow-up to The Rotters' Club and Closed Circle, Jonathan Coe captures the state of our nation once again!

'Coe's back with a bang. Middle England is the novel about Brexit we need' Daily Telegraph

'A pertinent, entertaining study of a nation in crisis'
Financial Times, Books of the Year

'Very funny. Coe - a writer of uncommon decency - reminds us that the way out of this mess is through moderation, through compromise, through that age-old English ability to laugh at ourselves'

Written with his signature wit, Jonathan Coe's unmissable new novel, Bournville, is available to pre-order now!

Winning the sought after Best Novel category was Jonathan Coe's novel Middle England, published by Penguin General, a book which captures the comedy and tragedy of our times by exploring how Brexit has impacted people up and down the country through a vivid cast of characters. Described as ‘brilliantly funny’ by The Economist, Middle England is a ‘compelling state of the nation novel, full of light and shade, which vivdly charts modern Britain’s tragicomic slide’.

Mary Mount, Publisher at Penguin General and editor of Jonathan’s book celebrated the win: ‘At an extraordinary time in this country’s history Jonathan Coe’s Middle England is the novel we all need. This is a novel that means an enormous amount to me – a novel that is incredibly funny but is also moving and full of humanity – and all of us at Viking are utterly thrilled that Costa has made it their Novel of the Year.’ 

What I’m reading: Johnathan Coe

Reading lists

What I’m reading: Jonathan Coe

The Confessions of Frannie Langton
The Confessions of Frannie Langton
'Deep-diving and elegant . . . Wide Sargasso Sea meets Beloved meets Alias Grace' Margaret Atwood

'Takes the gothic genre by the scruff of the neck...a triumph of powerful characterisation melded with suspenseful plotting' Bernadine Evaristo



'They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don't believe I've done?'

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning - slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

A haunting tale about one woman's fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night alleys, into the heart of Georgian London.

'A dazzling page-turner'
Emma Donoghue

'A star in the making' Sunday Times

'Gothic fiction made brand new' Stef Penney

'Dazzlingly original' The Times

'A heroine for our times' Elizabeth Day

Topping the ever-impressive Best First Novel category was The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Penguin General author Sara Collins. Inspired by Sara's’ own love of gothic fiction, it is a tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story and save herself from being sentenced to death: it's 1826, and crowds have gathered at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The Times hailed it as 'an impressive debut, dazzlingly original'.

Delighted at the news of her win, Sara said; 'I wrote a novel because I loved reading them and many of the writers who have inspired me have been previous winners of Costa awards (or the Whitbread, as it then was). It's therefore utterly surreal to have been awarded the prize; for Frannie to have been recognised and rewarded in the same vein as authors like Andrea Levy or Francis Spufford or Stef Penney is truly stunning and delightful.'

Katy Loftus, Publisher at Viking and Sara’s editor, shared her thoughts: ‘It’s incredibly rare to come across a debut voice as original and powerful as Sara Collins’, and I am so thrilled that the Costa Awards are celebrating the start of this exciting literary career. Frannie Langton stormed her way onto the page and into our imaginations, and I hope many more readers will hear her story this year.’

Sara Collins author interview for Penguin 2020


Meet the author: Sara Collins

The Volunteer
The Volunteer

One of the Sunday Times paperbacks of the Year 2020

One of the Financial Times best books of 2020

'Totally gripping'-- Simon Sebag Montefiore

'Pilecki is perhaps one of the greatest unsung heroes of the second world war ... this insightful book is likely to be the definitive version of this extraordinary life' -- Economist

Would you sacrifice yourself to save thousands of others?

In the Summer of 1940, after the Nazi occupation of Poland, an underground operative called Witold Pilecki accepted a mission to uncover the fate of thousands of people being interned at a new concentration camp on the border of the Reich.

His mission was to report on Nazi crimes and raise a secret army to stage an uprising. The name of the detention centre -- Auschwitz.

It was only after arriving at the camp that he started to discover the Nazi's terrifying plans. Over the next two and half years, Witold forged an underground army that smuggled evidence of Nazi atrocities out of Auschwitz. His reports from the camp were to shape the Allies response to the Holocaust - yet his story was all but forgotten for decades.

This is the first major account to draw on unpublished family papers, newly released archival documents and exclusive interviews with surviving resistance fighters to show how he brought the fight to the Nazis at the heart of their evil designs.

The result is an enthralling story of resistance and heroism against the most horrific circumstances, and one man's attempt to change the course of history.

The winning authors each receive £5,000 and are now eligible for the top prize, the 2019 Costa Book of the Year, which will be announced on Tuesday 28 January.

Read the shortlisted titles

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