Author: Sherry Helms
Helen Macdonald, the author of academic memoir, H is for Hawk, won the 2014 Costa Prize, UK’s second prestigious literary prize on Tuesday. The book chronicles Macdonald’s story of coping with grief after the death of her photojournalist father and decided to take on the task to instruct the bird of prey, goshawk.
Started in 1971 and known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2006, The Costa Book Award is chiefly offered to writers who lives in Britain and Ireland. The Costa is different to other awards as it is the only award to recognize books across five different categories i.e. best biography, best poetry, best debut, best novel and best children’s book which is announced in London every January.
Claire Tomalin, the chair of judges offered the £20,000 prize to Ms Macdonald, the Cambridge historian, poet, illustrator and naturalist, at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London.
Ms Tomalin said: “We were all very surprised, this book is so intense and magnificent it knocks you over. It has these amazing moments.”
After accepting the prize, the author acknowledged feeling wobbly. “My mum was hoping I’d win. I think she put some money on me. It is never expected and I’m really thrilled and a little bit all over the place.”
The 44-year old author- Macdonald said it had been an “extraordinary privilege” to have been shortlisted and expressed thanks to readers who had contributed their own stories of grief.
Other nominees included How to be both by Ali Smith, Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders, My Family and Other Superheroes( debut poetry collection) by Jonathan Edwards and Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.
Last year, Nathan Filer won Costa Book of the Year award for his debut novel The Shock of the Fall. The book is a memoir tells his experience as a mental health nurse.