Costa Awards

Recent Bath Spa graduate’s first novel is shortlisted in prestigious Costa Book awards

Friday, 25 November, 2016

Congratulations to former Bath Spa University student Susan Beale who has been shortlisted in the high profile Costa Book awards.

Susan, who studied for a Masters in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University two years’ ago, has had her novel, The Good Guy, shortlisted in the First Novel category.

Her book was described by judges as ‘an absorbing and deeply affecting novel by a gifted storyteller.’


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 recognises the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - published in the last year.

The winners of each of the five categories will be awarded £5,000 when they are announced on 3 January. Those five winners will then be considered for the Costa Book of the Year, which will see the winner awarded £30,000 at a ceremony on 31 January.

Susan, who lives in Wells Somerset, is also an American former competitive figure skater. She was raised on Cape Cod, lived in Belgium and France, and has worked as a journalist and editor in the US and Europe.

This year, 596 entries were whittled down to the five, four-book shortlists, and the Guardian reported that the shortlists have been dominated by female writers.

The MA Creative Writing course at Bath Spa University is taught by best-selling and award winning writers, including novelists Gerard Woodward and Tessa Hadley, and poet Tim Liardet. The course has visiting speakers from the publishing industry and rigorous, supportive workshops are at the heart of the MA.

Read more about the course here.

Bath Spa has enjoyed much success in these awards:

Previous winner of the Costa Book of the Year, Nathan Filer, is also a graduate of the MA Creative Writing course. Nathan won the award in 2014 for his debut novel, Shock of the Fall.

Former lecturer in Creative Writing, Andrew Miller won both the 2011 Costa Book Best Novel Award and the overall Costa Book of the Year Award for his novel Pure. In 2012 the prize went to Bring Up the Bodies by Bath Spa Honorary Graduate Hilary Mantel. It was the first book to be named as Costa Book of the Year and win the Man Booker Prize in the same year.

About the book - The Good Guy by Susan Beale (John Murray)

Ted, a car tyre salesman in 1960s suburban New England, is a dreamer who craves admiration. His wife, Abigail, longs for a life of the mind. Single girl Penny just wants to be loved. After a chance encounter, Ted becomes enamoured with Penny and begins inventing a whole new life with her at its centre. But when this fantasy collides with reality, the fallout threatens everything and everyone he holds dear. The inspiration for The Good Guy came from Susan's own adoption files.


Tessa Hadley's profile

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