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Bring Up The Bodies wins 2012 Costa novel prize

Bring Up The Bodies

Story by Jack Foley

BOOKER Prize-winning novel Bring Up The Bodies has won another accolade – the 2012 Costa novel prize.

Written by Hilary Mantel, the historical novel takes place in 1535, as Oliver Cromwell is Chief Minister to King Henry and his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn.

However, the split from the Catholic Church has left England dangerously isolated and Anne has failed to give the king an heir, leaving Cromwell to watch as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour.

Negotiating the politics of the court, Cromwell must find a solution that will satisfy Henry, safeguard the nation and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge unscathed from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.

Bring Up The Bodies was described by the Costa judges as “quite simply the best novel of the year”.

Further prizes went to Kathleen Jamie’s The Overhaul, which won the poetry category, and Maggot Moon, which won the Children’s award for former illustrator Sally Gardiner.

The judges referred to the latter book, which sees a hero named Standish make a stand against a ruthless regime which has taken his friend away, as “truly outstanding” and “a magnificent book”.

Husband and wife team Mary and Bryan Talbot, from Sunderland, jointly won best biography for the graphic novel Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, a part personal history, part biography story following two interweaving father-daughter relationships.

And debut author Francesca Segal won the first novel category for The Innocents, the story of childhood sweethearts whose marriage preparations are thrown into disarray when a cousin turns up and puts temptation in one of their paths.

All five books, which were selected from more than 550 entries, will now compete for the 2012 Costa Book of the Year, which will be announced in London on January 29, 2013. Each winner will receive a £5,000 prize.

This year’s judges included actress Jenny Agutter and comedian Mark Watson and was chaired by the BBC Radio 4 broadcaster, Dame Jenni Murray.

The overall winner will receive an additional £30,000 prize money.