More poetry this week! On Tuesday 30th January the Costa Book of the Year 2017 was announced. Helen Dunmore was awarded the prize posthumously for her 10th and final poetry collection which she was writing in the final weeks of her life last June. She is the second poet to have received the award posthumously – Ted Hughes won it for ‘Birthday Letters’ in 1998. She is also a critically acclaimed novelist; The Siege is one of my favourite novels of all time. Her final novel ‘Birdcage Walk’ was published last year and is definitely one to look forward to – a story set in Bristol during the time of the French Revolution

Below are the category winners – all available to borrow from the library, along with many of Helen Dunmore’s novels.


  • First novel: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – The debut novel from Honeyman tells the story of a survivor of a childhood trauma. It is set to be adapted for the big screen by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine.
  • Novel: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor – The story of many lives haunted by one family’s loss. The judges described it as “hypnotic, compelling and original.”
  • Biography: In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott – A family memoir about her life – and her late father’s life – inside the Exclusive Brethren, a Christian fundamentalist separatist cult.
  • Poetry: Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore – Inside The Wave explores the borderline between the living and the dead and includes Dunmore’s final poem, Hold Out Your Arms, written shortly before her death.
  • Children’s book: The Explorer by Katherine Rundell –  An adventure story set in the Amazon rainforest.


More reading ideas on the Library blog