Fellow wins Costa Book of the Year

We are delighted to announce that Professor Bart van Es, one of our Fellows in English, has won the 2018 Costa Book of the Year award for his memoir The Cut Out Girl.

Earlier this year, Professor van Es was named the unanimous winner of the 2018 Costa Biography award, with judges calling the book: ‘The hidden gem of the year. Sensational and gripping, and shedding light on some of the most urgent issues of our time.’ He then went on to compete with the winners of the four other categories (Novel, First Novel, Poetry and Children’s Book) to have The Cut Out Girl named Costa Book of the Year at the awards ceremony on 29 January.

The Cut Out Girl tells the harrowing true story of Lien, a Jewish girl who was sheltered by Bart’s grandparents in the Netherlands during the Second World War, braided together with the present-day account of Bart’s efforts to piece her story together. Lien herself attended the awards ceremony with Bart, joining him on stage for his acceptance speech.

Professor van Es said: ‘The Costa win has been such a transformative event for The Cut Out Girl. Lien and I really celebrated it together and we are now in a whirlwind of publicity, which is a lovely thing because it is bringing attention to the book. One of the great things about St Catz is that it gives academics the freedom to pursue projects like this. I’m very grateful to the college for its support.’

The Costa Book Awards, established in 1971, are a set of annual book prizes open to writers based in the UK and Ireland. Previous winners include Seamus Heaney, Philip Pullman and J.K. Rowling, as well as Catz alumna Katherine Rundell (2005, English Language and Literature), one of Bart’s former students! With the overarching Book of the Year Award, Professor van Es follows previous winner Helen Dunmore, who was posthumously honoured in 2018 for her final poetry collection In The Wave.