Andrew Miller, Bath Spa University Lecturer in Creative Writing, won ‘Best Novel’ at the Costa Books Awards 2011. His sixth novel outshone Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes to win the prestigious award.
Pure, a parable of the French Revolution set in 18th-century Paris, was commended by the judges: "A structurally and stylistically flawless historical novel, this book is a gripping story, beautifully written and emotionally satisfying. A novel without a weakness from an author who we all feel deserves a wider readership.”
Miller humbly said: “With the kind of work I do the occasional attention of a prize jury makes everything a little easier. For me there's a great sense of relief. Huge amounts of luck involved, of course. No good pretending otherwise.”
The Costa Book Awards started life in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards and is one of the UK's most prestigious and popular literary prizes. The awards recognise some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland. It’s unique for having five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book.
The winner in each category receives £5,000, and then one of the five winning books is selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year. This year's individual category winners have been announced for the prestigious awards and the overall winner will be announced on 24 January.
Synopsis of Pure:
Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.