I'm backing an opera singer for the Costa book prize

I'm backing an opera singer for the Costa book prize


norman lebrecht

January 03, 2012

The five category winners are announced tonight. If I were a betting man, I’d flutter a fiver on the children’s writer Moira Young. Not because her book Blood Red Road is being made into a movie by Ridley Scott. But because she started out as a proper bona fide opera singer who won a Met audition and toured Britain and France with Peter Knapp’s Travelling Opera. Not many writers sing. Fewer still get paid for it. I’m backing Moira.

The five category winners who go forward for the big prize are:

  • Poet and debut biographer Matthew Hollis, who beats Claire Tomalin’s bestselling Dickens to take the Costa Biography Award for his first work of prose, Now All Roads Leads to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas


  • Andrew Miller who triumphs over Julian Barnes, winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, to take the Costa Novel Award with his sixth novel, Pure


  • Debut novelist and former Great Ormond Street nurse, Christie Watson, who wins the Costa First Novel Award for Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, set in the Niger Delta


  • Carol Ann Duffy who wins the Costa Poetry Award for The Bees, her first collection since being appointed Poet Laureate in 2009


  • Former opera singer and debut children’s writer, Moira Young, who wins the Costa Children’s Book Award for Blood Red Road, currently being adapted for film by Scott Free, Ridley Scott’s production company