We’re delighted to report that three authors represented by Conville & Walsh literary agency are nominated in this year’s Costa Book Awards. Andrea Wulf’s THE INVENTION OF NATURE and Thomas Harding’s THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE have been nominated in the Biography category, whilst Tasha Kavanagh’s THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON has been nominated in the First Novel category.
The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. Established in 1971 as the Whitbread Prize, the sponsorship was taken over by Costa in 2006. 2015 marks the 44th year of the Book Awards.
Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Monday 4th January 2016. The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2015 will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 26th January 2016.
Andrea Wulf’s THE INVENTION OF NATURE is a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction. It has been called ‘a superb biography’ by the Economist and ‘An exhilarating armchair voyage’ in the Mail on Sunday. Several of Andrea’s previous books have been bestsellers.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.
His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy’s Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’.
Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it’s only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
Thomas Harding’s THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE has been called ‘A superb work of social history, told with tremendous narrative verve’ in the Sunday Times and ‘an extraordinary book’ in the Sunday Express. His first book, HANNS AND RUDOLF, was also shortlisted for the Costa Prize and was a Sunday Times bestseller.
In the spring of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Berlin with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake. It was her ‘soul place’, she said – a sanctuary she had been forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power. The trip was a chance to see the house one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed.
Twenty years later Thomas returned to Berlin. The house now stood empty, derelict, soon to be demolished. A concrete footpath cut through the garden, marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades. Elsewhere were signs of what the house had once been – blue tiles showing behind wallpaper, photographs fallen between floorboards, flagstones covered in dirt. Evidence of five families who had made the house their home over a tumultuous century.
The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking work of history, revealing the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. Moving from the late nineteenth century to the present day, from the devastation of two world wars to the dividing and reuniting of a nation, it is a story of domestic joy and contentment, of terrible grief and tragedy, and of a hatred handed down through the generations. It is the long-awaited new work from the bestselling author of Hanns and Rudolf.
Tasha Kavanagh’s THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON, was hailed as ‘one of the best books I’ve read this year’ in the Independent, and named a ‘brilliantly twisted coming-of-age tale’ in the Sunday Express, while acclaimed novelist Kevin Brooks declared ‘the voice is perfect, the writing sublime… beautifully endearing, a stunning book’.
Yasmin would give anything to have a friend . . .
And do anything to keep one.
The first time I saw you, you were standing at the far end of the playing field. You were looking down at your brown straggly dog, but then you looked up, your mouth going slack as your eyes clocked her. Alice Taylor. I was no different. I used to catch myself gazing at the back of her head in class, at her silky fair hair swaying between her shoulder blades.
If you’d glanced just once across the field you’d have seen me standing in the middle on my own, looking straight at you, and you’d have gone back through the trees to the path quick, tugging your dog after you. You’d have known you’d given yourself away, even if only to me.
But you didn’t. You only had eyes for Alice.
Things We Have in Common is a dark and utterly compulsive novel about loneliness and teenage obsession.
17 Nov 2015