All-Female Shortlist For Best Novel Award

The prize is awarded to British and Irish authors of fiction, poetry, biography and children's literature

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The shortlist for the 2013 Costa Book Awards has been announced, and in one pivotal category all the nominees are women. The Costa Book Awards — formerly known as the Whitbread Book awards — are given out every year to books written by British or Irish authors. Winners are chosen in five categories – novel, first novel, poetry, biography and children’s book – with winners announced in January. Amongst those selected winners, a book of the year is then chosen, which comes with a £30,000 (about $48,000) prize.

In this year’s best novel category, all of the shortlisted authors are women, and one writer, Bernardine Bishop, is being nominated posthumously. Bishop, who passed away in July at the age of 73, wrote the shortlisted Unexpected Lessons in Love, as well as two other yet-to-be-published novels, shortly before her death. “It is wonderful and also very sad because Bernadine’s not here to enjoy it,” her editor, Kate Parkin, told the Guardian. “I wish she had been.”

The shortlisted nominees in each category are:

Novel award:

Kate Atkinson, Life After Life

Bernardine Bishop, Unexpected Lessons in Love

Maggie O’Farrell, Instructions for a Heatwave

Evie Wyld, All the Birds, Singing

First novel award

Sam Byers, Idiopathy

Kate Clanchy, Meeting the English

Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall

Sathnam Sanghera, Marriage Material

Biography award

Gavin Francis, Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins

Thomas Harding, Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War

Olivia Laing, The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink

Poetry award

Clive James, Dante, The Divine Comedy

Helen Mort, Division Street

Robin Robertson, Hill of Doors

Michael Symmons Roberts, Drysalter

Children’s book award

Ross Montgomery, Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door

Sarah Naughton, The Hanged Man Rises

Chris Riddell, Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire