Two Penguin Random House titles have been successful at the 2016 Costa Book Awards, with Keggie Carew winning the Costa Biography Award for Dadland: A Journey Into Uncharted Territory and Alice Oswald winning the Costa Poetry Award for Falling Awake.
The results, announced last night on BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme, now mean that both titles will go on to compete for the overall Costa Book of the Year Award.
Dadland sees Keggie Carew revisit the life of her father, Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Carew, built initially from his recollections of his life and pieced together through the extensive archives found in his attic and newly-released official records. Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself. As a member of an elite SOE unit he was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerrilla resistance in France, then Burma, in the Second World War. But his wartime exploits are only the start of it, as Keggie celebrates the technicolour life of an impossible, irresistible, unstoppable man.
Falling Awake sees Alice Oswald take the Costa Poetry Award with her seventh collection, following on from her nominations for both the 2016 Forward Prize and the 2016 T.S. Eliot award. Working as before with an ear to the oral tradition, the poems within this collection attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh, fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary, repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud.
Four other Penguin Random House titles were nominated for the awards, with Rose Tremain nominated for the Novel Award for The Gustav Sonata; Kit De Waal being nominated for My Name Is Leon in the First Novel category; and Hisham Matar (The Return) and John Guy (Elizabeth: The Forgetten Years) getting nods in the Biography category.
The overall Costa Book of the Year Award will be announced on the 31 January at a ceremony in London.