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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge Named 2015 Costa Book of the Year

27 Jan 2016 Sustainability

Winner Book Of The Year 2015 715x423 1

Costa Short Story Award won by Daniel Murphy, a retired headteacher from Stirling 

  • Only the second children’s book in the prize’s history to win Book of the Year
  • The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman won in 2001
  • A Victorian murder mystery the judges said ‘will grip readers of all ages’

Children’s book The Lie Tree, a Victorian murder mystery by Young Adult fiction and children’sauthor Frances Hardinge, has been named the 2015 Costa Book of the Year

The announcement was made this evening (Tuesday 26th January) at an awards ceremony held at Quaglino’s in central London.

The Lie Tree (Macmillan Children’s Books) is only the second children’s book to take the overall prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001.

Hardinge beat bookmakers’ favourite, debut author Andrew Michael Hurley, for his first novel The Loney, novelist Kate Atkinson for A God in Ruins, Scottish poet Don Paterson for 40 Sonnets, and historian and writer Andrea Wulf for The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, The Lost Hero of Science to win the overall prize and a cheque for £30,000 at the awards ceremony.

The Lie Tree, the author’s seventh novel,tells the story of Faith Sunderly whose family have shipped out from England to a remote island to escape scandal.  When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies.  Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree that feeds off whispered lies.  It will take all Faith’s courage to discover the truth behind the curious events on the island of Vane, and what, or who, killed her beloved father.

James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension.  It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love.”

Heneage chaired a final judging panel that included comedian, writer and actor Katy Brand, actress and author Jane Asher, broadcaster, writer and actress Janet Ellis,  writers Louise Doughty, Matt Haig, Penny Junor, Martyn Bedford and poet and children’s author, Julia Copus.

The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize that is open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and also, uniquely, recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year. 

Originally established in 1971 by Whitbread Plc, Costa announced its takeover of the sponsorship of the UK’s most prestigious book prize in 2006. 2015 marks the 44th year of the Book Awards.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won eleven times by a novel, six times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and twice by a children’s book.

The 2014 Costa Book of the Year was H is for Hawk by writer Helen Macdonald which has sold over 200,000 copies since its publication.

Daniel Murphy wins 2015 Costa Short Story Award

Also announced at the ceremony was the winner of the Costa Short Story Award. Retired headteacher Daniel Murphy from Stirling won the public vote and £3,500 for his story, Rogey.  Two runners-up, writer Erin Soros and writer and part-time gym instructor Annalisa Crawford, received £1,000 and £500 respectively.

Established in 2012, the new Award – run in association with the Costa Book Awards but judged independently of the main five-category system – is unique in that it was judged anonymously (ie without the name of the author being known throughout the process).  It is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words written in English by an author aged 18 years or over, and is open to both published and unpublished writers.

A shortlist of six stories was selected by a panel of judges – Raffaella Barker, Richard Beard, Fanny Blake, Sarah Franklin and Simon Trewin – and then made available on the Costa Book Awards website for the public to download and vote for their favourite.  Costa Managing Director, Christopher Rogers, announced the winner and runners-up and presented them with their cheques.

For more information please visit

For further press information or to request an interview with Frances Hardinge please contact:

Amanda Johnson

Costa Book Awards Press and Publicity

Telephone: 07715 922 180



Beatrice Cross

Macmillan Children’s Books


Telephone: 0207 014 6279

Notes for Editors:

About the Costa Book Awards:

  • The Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Book Awards, were established in 1971 to encourage, promote and celebrate the best contemporary British writing.
  • The total prize fund for the Costa Book Awards – including the Costa Short Story Award – stands at £60,000.
  • The award winners from the five categories – Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – each receive £5,000.
  • The overall Costa Book of the Year is selected from the five category Award winners with the winner receiving a further £30,000. 
  • The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in central London on 26th January, 2016.
  • The 2014 Costa Book of the Year was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald(Jonathan Cape).

About Costa:

Founded in London by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971, our quality coffee was the premium choice for boutique hotels and restaurants across the city. Today we continue to roast the original Mocha Italia recipe in Old Paradise Street, London with our 100% Rainforest Alliance certified coffee remaining at the core of our quality coffee credentials.

With 2,000 coffee shops in the UK and more than 1,200 in 30 overseas markets, we are the fastest growing coffee shop business in the UK. We’re proud to be the UK’s favourite coffee shop, having been awarded “Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in the UK and Ireland” by Allegra Strategies for six years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & December 2015).

Our people are the heart of our business and we employ over 30,000 people, creating around 1,500 jobs this year alone and over 4,500 jobs in the next three years in the UK. We continue to be part of the Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For list, providing skills and training to develop the leaders of the future.

We care about the communities we operate in, which is why we’ve signed up to Keep Britain Tidy’s Litter Prevention Commitment (Sept 2015) with over 650 stores across the UK taking part in the Big Tidy Up event. Our paper cups and lids are 100% recyclable and have an insulated design, eliminating the need for paper sleeves to hold hot drinks.

We’re also committed to tackling the UK’s literacy challenge, continuing our partnership of Save the Children’s Born to Read initiative that aims to ensure that children aged 11 leave primary school with the necessary reading skills to continue to learn through education.

Looking after coffee growers is extremely important to us, which is why we established The Costa Foundation, a registered charity with the aim to relieve poverty, advance education and the health and environment of coffee-growing communities around the world. So far, The Costa Foundation has funded the building of 53 schools and improved the social and economic welfare of coffee-growing communities. 

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