Costa have announced that after 50 years they have taken the “difficult decision” to end their annual book awards, in a move that’s been labelled a ‘massive blow’ by publishers.
Formerly known as the Whitbread Book Awards, from their inception in 1971 until Costa took over in 2005, the awards have celebrated writers in five categories over the last five decades, with prizes for ‘First Novel’, ‘Novel’, ‘Biography’, ‘Poetry and Children’s Book’, and the flagship prize of ‘Costa Book of the Year’.
The recipient of the main prize was given £30,000, while each of the sub-category winners were awarded £5,000.
After 50 years of celebrating some of the most enjoyable books written by talented authors from across the UK & Ireland, Costa Coffee has taken the difficult decision to end the Costa Book Awards. What a great 50 years it’s been!
Find out more here https://t.co/DWNvSPYgSo 📚☕ pic.twitter.com/dAMz7dHIh7
— Costa Book Awards (@CostaBookAwards) June 10, 2022
The decision to end the awards means that the 50th edition, held in February of this year, will be the last instalment.
In a statement announcing the decision, Costa said, “We are incredibly proud to have played a part in supporting some of the best-selling authors of the last 50 years as well as trailblazing diverse and fresh voices, tackling a broad range of themes and ideas, across fiction, poetry and biography.
“We would like to thank all those who have been involved and supported the Costa Book Awards over the last 50 years as we close this chapter.”Unsurprisingly, Costa’s move has been met with dismay from book publishers. “The Costa prizes have played an enormously important role in our literary ecosystem over the years, and authors and publishers alike will feel their loss keenly,” said Oneworld founder Juliet Mabey. “I suspect that the challenging financial climate in the UK is likely to have played a part in Costa’s decision, but it is a massive blow nonetheless – we’ve never needed the support of a brilliant clutch of prizes like this more.”