Art And Culture

Children’s Novel Wins UK Award

Children’s Novel Wins UK Award Children’s Novel Wins UK Award

A children’s book has won the UK’s coveted Costa Book of the Year for only the second time in the award’s history.

Frances Hardinge’s supernatural tale ‘The Lie Tree’ scooped the prize and was hailed by judges as a “fantastic story”.

It is the first time a children’s author has received the award in 14 years, after Philip Pullman last won for ‘The Amber Spyglass’ in 2001, BBC reported.

Hardinge, who was visibly surprised when she took to the stage in central London, said she hoped it would bring children’s literature into the spotlight.

“In the wider world, sometimes children’s fiction is seen as a bit lightweight, in a way that I think is not deserved,” she said.

“I would also see this as recognition of the wonderful work that is being done out there throughout children’s and young adults’ fiction.”

The book saw competition from debut novelist Andrew Michael Hurley’s gothic horror story ‘The Loney’ and author Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God in Ruins’.

The Victorian detective novel follows the story of teenager Faith as she tries to uncover the details of her father’s mysterious death. The budding scientist finds a tree which, when fed with lies, bears fruit that acts as a gateway to understanding previously incomprehensible truths.

Her struggle for answers is set against the backdrop of a male-dominated Victorian society, a theme which Hardinge said she often explored in her stories.

“Female education is very important to me,” she said. “I always have a problem with any convention, any prejudice that allows people to treat other people as inferior.”

Judging panel chairman James Heneage said: “First and foremost, Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree is a fantastic story.

“It is an important book, not only because it is a great narrative, with great characterization, but because its central message of possibility for an intelligent girl who is out of touch for the age in which she lives is a very important one and, I would argue, relevant for today.”

The Costa Book Awards considers authors living in the UK and Ireland. The prize amount is $43,000.