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Fellow wins Costa Book of the Year

We are delighted to announce that Professor Bart van Es, our Fellow 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 winners of the four other categories (novel, first novel, poetry and children’s book) to have The Cut Out Girl named ‘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.

Of the book, Professor van Es said:  “There are two ways in which it could be a good book to have in the world. There’s a scary way in which anti-Semitism and extreme nationalism and conspiracy theories are around in a way they weren’t 10 years ago. But also another way in which it is quite a healing book.”

The Costa Book Awards are a set of annual book prizes open to writers based in the UK and Ireland, established in 1971. Previous winners include Seamus Heaney, Philip Pullman and J.K Rowling, as well as Catz alumna Katherine Rundell (2005, English Language & 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.

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