Books

Costa Book Awards: the best novels since 1971

Launched in 1971, the Costa Book Awards (previously the Whitbread Book Awards) recognise the most enjoyable books by writers in the UK and Ireland across five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book. Of the five winning books, one is awarded the prestigious Costa Book of the Year Award.

But the Costa Book Awards are not your typical literary prize - while literary merit is considered, an entertaining read is more likely to win top prize. The Costa Book Awards celebrate readable books that are enjoyed by anyone and everyone.

Here, you'll find every winner of the Costa Book Novel Award since 1971 - a list full of bestsellers and page-turners by the UK and Ireland's most beloved authors including Kate Atkinson, Ali Smith, Colm Tóibín, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sally Rooney, and William Trevor. If the Costa Book Novel Award judges have done their job, then you're sure to find an enjoyable read (or more) below.

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Costa Book Award-winning novels

By Claire Fuller
2021
By Jonathan Coe
2019
By Sally Rooney
2018
By Jon McGregor
2017
By Sebastian Barry
2016
By Kate Atkinson
2015
By Ali Smith
2014
By Kate Atkinson
2013
By Hilary Mantel
2012
By Andrew Miller
2011
By Maggie O'Farrell
2010
By Colm Tóibín
2009
By Sebastian Barry
2008
Day
By A.L. Kennedy
2007
By William Boyd
2006
By Ali Smith
2005
By Andrea Levy
2004
By Michael Frayn
2002
By Patrick Neate
2001
By Matthew Kneale
2000
By Rose Tremain
1999
By Justin Cartwright
1998
By Jim Crace
1997
By Beryl Bainbridge
1996
By Salman Rushdie
1995
By William Trevor
1994
By Joan Brady
1993
By Alasdair Gray
1992
By Jane Gardam
1991
By Nicholas Mosley
1990
By Lindsay Clarke
1989
By Salman Rushdie
1988
By Ian McEwan
1987
By Kazuo Ishiguro
1986
By Peter Ackroyd
1985
By Christopher Hope
1984
By William Trevor
1983
By John Wain
1982
By Maurice Leitch
1981
By David Lodge
1980
By Jennifer Johnston
1979
By Paul Theroux
1978
By Beryl Bainbridge
1977
By William Trevor
1976
By William McIlvanney
1975
By Shiva Naipaul
1973
By Susan Hill
1972
By Gerda Charles
1971

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